Government budgets can be tough to understand, but now Smart Cville is providing the next generation of accessibility in financial information that allows citizens to view, engage with, and discuss. A fiscal year is from 1 July to 30 June.
The Purpose of Budgeting
Budgeting has several major purposes. First and foremost, budgeting is a formal way to convert the City's long-range plans and policies into services and programs for the citizens of the City of Charlottesville. The budget also details these services and programs in terms of costs. The City's budget informs the City Council and the public of the City government's plans for the coming fiscal year, and provides the Council with the opportunity to review and decide the level of services to be provided to our citizens.
The Annual Budget Process
The City’s operating budget process begins in the fall when departments prepare their budget requests. In December, the City Manager presents the City’s long-term financial forecast, Budget Guidelines, and Long Term Financial Policies to City Council. Based on the available forecasts, City Council formally amends and/or adopts the Budget Guidelines and Long Term Financial Policies. Council also holds budget worksessions in January and early February to provide further guidance to staff in budget preparation.
From late October to mid-January, departmental budget requests and agency budget requests are submitted to the Budget Office and reviewed individually with each department by the Leadteam Budget Review Team (LBRT). The LBRT consists of two teams of department heads who meet with individual departments, review budget proposals, new program requests and budget reduction scenarios. The teams make recommendations on balancing the budget and long term financial strategies to the City Manager.
Estimated revenue forecasts are finalized by the Revenue Team simultaneous with the development of the expenditure budgets. The Revenue Team is made up of the City Treasurer, Commissioner of Revenue, Director of Economic Development, Assistant City Manager responsible for financial administration and budget, and the Finance Director.
The City Manager’s Proposed Budget, along with the School’s Budget, is presented to City Council at the first Council meeting in March. The City is required to present a balanced budget where revenues (money that is received from taxes, fess, intergovernmental sources, etc.) equal expenditures. A series of City Council work sessions and public hearings are held during the months of March and April. The City and School budget is formally adopted by City Council each year no later than April 15th.
Comprehensive information about the City of Charlottesville's Budget can be found at www.charlottesville.org/budget