Last week, Budget chair Teresa Mosqueda released the annual “budget memo,” outlining the process and schedule that the Council will follow for developing next year’s city budget.
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.
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