Guide to the Budget Process

Understand the Budget

When you receive your property tax bill or pay your personal property taxes each year, the city of Newport News Annual Budget process is probably not uppermost in your thoughts. Yet, the budget is the place to find out how your tax dollars are being spent.

A government's budget may seem complex or confusing at first glance and possibly put together so that only a bureaucrat could understand it. This is because government is called upon to do much more than before, and financial detail is necessary so those responsible for making budget decisions will have all the necessary information.

If you understand the budget process and how the budget is assembled, then the budget document will make more sense. More importantly, it will be possible for you to influence budget decisions.

Guide Purpose

The primary purpose of this guide is to explain the budget process and how citizens can have access to it. Even if your interest in city spending is limited to only a desire to know what happens in general to your local tax dollars, this guide will help.

Elected officials must stay in touch with community needs in order to provide appropriate and responsive government services. The budget process provides an important avenue for them to solicit citizen opinions as to where government should be spending its money.

This guide will help to show where in the budget process residents can communicate their opinions to the City Manager and City Council. Also included in this guide is some additional information that describes the city's relationship to the state and federal governments from a financial standpoint.

Budget Calendar

Date Action
July 1Beginning of the Fiscal Year
OctoberBudget preparation instructions distributed to departments and agencies
November-JanuaryDepartments and agencies develop budget requests
February - MarchBudget Hearings conducted by the City Manager with Department of Budget and Evaluation
Late MarchCity Manager submits proposed budget to City Council
April - MayCity Council work sessions on the budget and budget public hearings
May 15Date by which schools budget must be approved
June 15Date by which the city Operating Budget must be approved
June 30End of the Fiscal Year