The operating budget process begins in May with a review of expenditure levels and a projection of needs for the upcoming year. The proposed budget is presented to the City Council at a workshop in mid September, a proposed property tax levy is adopted later in September, and a public meeting adopting the budget and property tax levy is held in December.
Information on the budget process is distributed through the city newsletter and articles in the local newspapers. The city also prepares a budget summary that is available shortly before the September workshop. The summary provides information on the proposed budget, as well as projected tax implications of the recommended budget.
In November, Washington County distributes individual notices to all property owners with information on proposed property tax levies for the following year. The notice also provides information on the impact of proposed property tax levies for the school district, county and city, as well as the budget meeting date and location for each jurisdiction.
In addition to the operating budget, the city prepares a five-year capital improvement plan (CIP) and a rate study with recommended rates for most user funded operations, such as water and sewer services and the HealthEast Sports Center. The city also prepares an annual financial report that is reviewed by an independent CPA firm. Each of these is an integral part of the city's financial planning and has an impact on the budget process.