The Budget Process
By law, the annual budget is required to be adopted on or before March 15 of each year. The adopted budget provides for program operations for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following year. In practice, the Des Moines City Council typically adopts the budget at the end of February or at their first meeting in March each year. Budget amendments must be prepared and adopted in the same manner as the original budget.
While the City is formulating the annual operating budget, a parallel process is taking place to develop a capital improvements program. Two separate, but interrelated documents are prepared during the budget process. Each communicates to stakeholders how the City intends to allocate resources to meet resident’s needs. The first document, the Operating Budget, focuses on the annual departmental operations and includes summary information on the five-year capital improvement program. The document provides fiscal and program information for changes to the current fiscal year budget (amending) and projections for the following fiscal year budget (recommending). The second companion document, the Capital Improvement Program (CIP), focuses on projects that involve major one-time expenditures related to the city's infrastructure and economic development efforts. The local funding source is generally bonds. The CIP document provides project detail for changes to the current fiscal year, the proposed budget for the following year, and projections for the following five years.
Public input is provided at various Council meetings throughout the budget process and during the budget workshops from August through February. Additional efforts are underway to encourage public engagement with a series of town hall forums that will include topics on public safety, community enrichment, and infrastructure and development.
Defined here, the budget is the expenditure authorization or appropriation authority, by City Council, of public funds for a specific purpose. The total $535 million budget can be better understood as a $452 million operating budget and a $82 million capital budget. The table below provides an operating budget breakdown by fund. The city uses six different fund types which allows for a segregation of resources to be used for specific actions.
| Enterprise Funds
| General Fund
| Special Revenue Funds
| Debt Service
| Internal Service Funds
| Expendable Trust Funds
| Total Operating Budget
| Capital Budget
| Total Budget
Operating Budget: The $452 million operating budget includes funding for the day to day operations of the seven enterprise operations (airport, golf courses, housing services, parking system, sanitary sewers, solid waste collection, and storm sewer); the general fund (police and fire departments, parks and recreation, libraries, code inspections, and general administration, and other activities); special revenue funds (such as Road Use Tax and various federal and state grant programs); debt service on general obligation debt; internal service operations that serve all the city departments; and expendable trust funds.