The process is essentially the same as last year, and as followed earlier this summer by the Council in revising the 2020 budget. In a nutshell:
September 29: Mayor Durkan transmits her proposed 2021 budget to the City Council.
September 30 through October 2: presentations from the Council’s staff and city department heads on the Mayor’s proposed budget.
October 6 and October 27: public hearings. In addition, the Council takes public comments at nearly all Budget Committee meetings.
October 8: deadline for Council members to submit issues that they would like to discuss in committee.
October 15-16, 20-21: committee discussions of the Council members’ submitted issues.
October 22: deadline for Council members to submit proposed modifications to the Mayor’s proposed budget.
October 28 through 30: committee discussions of the Council members proposed modifications. Other Council members will indicate which proposals they are willing to co-sponsor.
November 2: the City Budget Office delivers an updated 2021 revenue forecast to the Council, so they know how much money they can spend.
November 10: The budget chair publishes her “balancing package,” a collection of proposed budget modifications that have broad support and result in a balanced budget.
November 12: deadline for Council members to submit proposed modifications to the chair’s balancing package. All proposals at this point must be “self-balancing,” in that any additional expenditures must be fully offset by savings or new revenues elsewhere.
November 18-19: the committee votes on the balancing package and proposed modifications to it.
November 23, morning: the budget is voted out of committee.
November 23, afternoon: the budget is given final approval at the full City Council meeting.
Normally this year the Council would be writing a two-year budget, but last month the Council approved a plan to construct only a one-year budget given the great uncertainties stemming from COVID-19 and the ensuing economic crisis.
I hope you found this article valuable. If you did, please take a moment to make a contribution to support my ongoing work. Thanks!