Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Where did that Budget Come From?!?

Time to learn about the birds and the bees dear citizens. Where do City Budgets come from anyway? Each city and town are a little bit different but I'm going to describe Derby, CT's budget process because that's the one I'm very familiar with.

First, each department within the City puts together a proposed budget for their department. This will include everything they need to operate from July 1 of the current year through June 30 of the following year. These budgets are submitted to the Finance Dept at City Hall and passed along to the Chairman of the Tax Board. This generally happens in February.

Next, the Tax Board holds workshops, about once a week starting in March. Each Dept head is assigned to a workshop date and they come before the Tax Board to talk about their budget and answer questions. If someone wanted to know about how Derby government works and why we spend what we do - these would be the meetings to attend!!

After talking to all of the departments about their needs and getting an estimate of what revenue we can expect from property taxes, the State, and so forth, the Tax Board continues to have workshops through April to deliberate on how much we can afford and whether or not we need to raise the mil rate in order to finance Derby's operations. This goes on through April.

Finally a special meeting is held to approve a preliminary budget. A few days later a public hearing is held to allow the citizens to comment on the preliminary budget. There will be another meeting, or two, after that, culminating in the adoption, by the Tax Board, of the final budget. By state law it must be in place by late May or early June, depending on that year's calendar.

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