The city council heard Thursday that Durham's income fell short of expectations last year, but cost cuts in most departments let 2007-08 close with a balanced budget.
Council members also got a signal that new City Manager Tom Bonfield means to run a tight ship, in the form of quarterly financial reports that are going to be standard operating procedure under his administration.
Past practice, he said, had been to leave financial reporting until budget planning season in the spring. In the future, reports will be coming every quarter.
"The staff feels like good information is a strong ally as we face the current economic uncertainty," said interim finance director Keith Herrmann, who delivered a detailed report of "financial highlights" from the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Herrman also said that, given the national economic crisis, the agencies that rate cities' credit worthiness are going to be increasingly strict in reviewing cities' accounts. Durham has a top, AAA bond rating.
"Changes are in the offing," he said.
"That," Brown said, "is something we need to be keeping in mind."