Preparing the City Budget
City budgets are not just financial documents. Done thoroughly, they reflect city plans, policies, and goals regarding services and sound resource management. When preparing the city budget the City Council provides input regarding goals, what programs and services citizens want in the city, and then look to sustaining or allocating funding for those goals.
The budget document is an important communication tool revealing a city’s plan for the coming year. Cities are under great pressure to streamline operations and meet strict financial standards at the same time. In the current economy, with dropping market values and loss of local government aid, sustainability is an overarching concern for cities. Budgeting is the vehicle to sustain cities in this extremely difficult economy.
The budget process begins in July of each year with the council considering a preliminary budget in mid to late August. Cities are required to adopt a preliminary budget no later than September 15 of each calendar year and a final budget no later than December 28. Once the preliminary budget is adopted, the levy amount to support the budget cannot be increased. Before adoption of a final budget, a pubic hearing is conducted, which is typically held the first Thursday in December.