During the month of September, the Budget Department begins to brief the City Manager on the financial outlook for the upcoming fiscal year. Actually, the City Manager and City Council are made aware of how operations are proceeding financially more often. When creating a new annual budget, a hard look is taken at historical, current, and projected future revenue and expenditure trends at this time.
The Department of Budget and Evaluation (DBE) develops the City Manager’s budget guidelines for the city departments and agencies. These directions are issued in early October. Department heads use these guidelines and their own analysis of their departmental needs, and prepare their operating budget requests during November through January, submitting them to DBE.
Following the Budget Department’s analysis of these requests, operating department personnel and DBE staff meet to jointly review the requested budget. The requested budget is then reviewed again, by the operating department, DBE staff, and with the City Manager. At the conclusion of this series of hearings and reviews, the City Manager decides upon a specific level of total funding to be proposed in the budget. After all funding decisions have been made by the City Manager, a Proposed Budget is prepared by the Budget Department.
Under the law, the City Manager’s proposed budget must be submitted to the City Council no later than May 1 (“...60 days prior to the beginning of each fiscal year...,” City Charter, Section §6.02). The City Council may conduct several work sessions on the budget at this time using supplementary information such as staffing data and program details as needed. Also at this time, public hearings on the City Manager’s proposed budget held, as required by the City Charter. They must occur within 30 days after the City Manager’s proposed budget is submitted (Section §6.02). Only 1 public budget hearing is required; however, 2 are usually held - 1 each in the northern and southern areas of the city.
City Council may conduct further work sessions on the budget after the public hearings. The proposed budget is voted upon at a regularly scheduled City Council meeting, concluding with adoption of the budget, with rate and fee and appropriation ordinances.
The approved budget takes effect on July 1, marking the beginning of the new fiscal year. Only 8 weeks later, the preparation of the next year’s budget begins again, as the current budget is implemented and the past year’s audit of financial activity is prepared. If you have any questions, please email the Department of Budget and Evaluation.