What does a City Treasurer do?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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A city treasurer is an individual responsible for managing the budget of a city government. In some places, a city treasurer must be elected and serves a term in office, whereas in many countries a city treasurer is appointed by the mayor or other government official with authority to appoint high ranking municipal officials. The treasurer must work with local government leaders to produce a city budget and ensure that revenues are sufficient to cover municipal liabilities.

Candidates for city treasurer have to be legal adults, and in cities where the position is elected, the treasurer must be someone with a legal right to vote. Generally, treasurers have a background in finance or accounting. Many people move into the city treasurer role after a lengthy career in banking or accounting. In most cities, anyone wishing to be elected or appointed to the city treasurer post must live within the city limits, and some places require all government officials to have been residents for a certain number of years before becoming eligible for such roles.


On a daily basis, the city treasurer signs invoices, pays bills on behalf of the municipality, and maintains records of cash flow. A city treasurer working for a large city usually has a departmental budget from which the assistant treasurer and other support staff must be paid, and the treasurer must handle the departmental budget as well as the city wide budget. Treasurers frequently meet with the mayor and other civic leaders to share information on economic developments as well as upcoming legislative and fiscal policy changes.

City governments often issue municipal bonds in order to raise funds for short-term expenses. The treasurer must work with licensed brokers to oversee the sale of the bonds and ensure that tax revenues are sufficient to cover income payments that are made to bondholders. If revenues drop, the treasurer must make a revised budget to keep bond payments on track, or lobby the civic authorities to raise taxes or reallocate funds previously earmarked for other expenses.

The treasurer must prepare an annual budget for the city based on income and expense projections. In order to make an accurate forecast of the year ahead, the treasurer must be aware of changes in insurance premiums, utility costs, national taxes, and any other factors that could cause annual operating costs to rise or fall from one year to the next. The treasurer must also determine how much money the city can afford to set aside for the salaries of city employees and for community projects, such as school renovations or road repairs.


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