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Budget Process and Calendar
The City of Fayetteville's Annual Budget and Work Program is a fiscal plan that presents the services which will be provided to the community and the funds needed to perform these services. The type of service and the level of service are defined by the use of program objectives, which are further defined by performance measures. The Mayor is responsible for formulating the fiscal plan and presenting it to the City Council for approval and adoption.
The budget process is structured to allow and encourage citizens and businesses to voice their opinions about how best to match taxpayer demands and resources into government services and expenditures. The City's fiscal year begins on January 1st and ends on December 31st. In July, City officials begin to plan for the coming year by developing goals, objectives, and strategies to meet the needs of the citizens and businesses of the City of Fayetteville.
Based on these objectives, the Budget Director compiles revenue estimates and requests operational plans from each government department. The operational plans are then reviewed internally for accuracy and practicability. From this information the Budget Director proposes a preliminary budget. This budget is reviewed and debated by the City Council, Mayor, and other officials. Public hearings are held to gather more information and to debate particular budget points. Work sessions are held to find solutions to budgetary problems and concerns.
By December 1st, the Budget Director prepares a final budget and presents it to the City Council. Following another series of discussions and hearings, an amended final budget is adopted by the City Council sometime before December 31st.
The public hearings throughout the budget process are considered to be an essential part of the budget process as they are designed to solicit feedback from the public on city operations and services. In accord with continuing efforts to apprise the public of city activities, the Budget and Work Program is made available for review by all interested persons at the Fayetteville Public Library and the City Clerk's Office. In addition, a downloadable version of the budget is found on the City's website. Public notification of this information is made in a local newspaper and on the Fayetteville Government Channel. As always, the public is invited to attend all meetings, retreats, and hearings regarding consideration of the budget.
The key steps in the budget process are described below:
Budget Preparation Package, July
The budget preparation package will be distributed to all Department Directors and Division Heads. The package will include budget preparation software. In addition, target budgets will be set for each fund and/or program. The target budget excludes service expansion requests and new personnel requests. These items are considered separately. Training sessions will be conducted on an individual basis with the Budget Staff and Department Directors and Division Heads, as requested.
Budget Work Papers Submitted by Division Heads, July
Division Heads are to return budget submissions requesting funding to the budget office. The budget office will then verify that budget submissions are correct and within specified targets.
Analysis of Each Proposed Program Budget, August
During the analysis period, meetings will be conducted with each Department Director. At these meetings, the submitted program budgets will be evaluated in their entirety and additions and cuts are made to balance funds with service requirements. The Proposed Budget and Work Program will be the result of this process.
Consideration and Approval of the Budget, Beginning to Adoption
The proposed budget will be presented to the Mayor in November. The Proposed Budget and Work Program will then be presented to the City Council in November. Public hearings on the budget will be conducted during November and December.
Implementing the Newly Adopted Budget, January
Work papers are created and distributed to allow each Division Head to split their budget into the projected funding level needed for each month. These work papers are collected and input into the computer system to assist in the control of the adopted budget throughout the budget year.
Adjusting the Budget, Throughout the Year:
The budget may be adjusted throughout the budget year. Depending on the amount of the adjustment, approval may come from the Budget Director, Chief Financial Officer, Mayor or the City Council. A detailed explanation of the Budget Adjustment Policy is contained in the adopted budget.