The City Budget Process

The Mayor as the Chief Executive carries the responsibility of proposing a balanced budget and a six-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The Mayor must submit his proposed budget by October 3rd (90 days before start of fiscal year).

The City Budget Office (CBO) is responsible for developing and monitoring the City's annual budget, carrying out budget-related functions and overseeing fiscal policy and financial planning activities. The CBO provides strategic analysis relating to the use of revenues, debt, long-term issues, and special events. CBO also provides technical assistance, training, and support to City departments in performing financial functions.

Once the budget has been proposed, the Mayor works with the City Council to finalize the budget documents. The Council considers the Mayor's proposed budget and the CIP and may modify the authorized spending to match the Council's policy priorities. Should Council make modifications, they must maintain the balance between revenues and spending. Any additional spending must be offset by a corresponding cut or additional revenues. The Council must complete its review of the proposed budget by December 2nd (30 days before the start of the year).

Before making any changes to the proposed budget, the Council seeks input from the public. The public is invited to provide direct testimony at various scheduled public hearings and before meetings of the City's Budget Committee. Councilmembers also receive input via e-mail, telephone, and one-on-one meetings.

Over the course of the year, budget modifications may be necessary. Council reviews proposed changes to the budget and solicits public input during these deliberations as well.

For more information see the Seattle City Council's Budget website and Budget Glossary.

During the budget cycle, details of the process and legislation are highlighted on the City Council home page.