Topic: Local Budgeting

A budget is arguably one of the most important documents a government produces - it is a way for the government to communicate with their constituents about their priorities. Local budgets include information about relative expenditures in different areas, for example, law enforcement versus social services. They also provide detail about how a government is addressing a given area, for example hiring staff vs. purchasing equipment. Local budgets may be set on an annual or biannual basis. Many local governments follow a fiscal year that is offset from the calendar year by six months, meaning that an annual budget reflects spending from July 1 - June 30 of the following year. Budget development processes typically take 6-9 months, providing multiple opportunities for the public to provide feedback and shape spending decisions.

ESAL Articles and Events about Local Budgeting

Article - Sep 16, 2021
Navigating the City Budget Process to Achieve Community Outcomes

Senior Budget Analyst of Fort Collins, CO, Cody Forst chats with us about a typical municipal budget timeline and how crucial involvement from community members through online feedback and participatory budgeting aid in the process.

Article - Sep 8, 2021
Visualizing Government Accountability Using a City Budget

This is the second in a series of three articles to help you understand and interpret local budgets. ESAL sits down with Open Budget Oakland’s Felicia Betancourt and Jess Sand to discuss their efforts towards making municipal budgets accessible. Read about how Open Budget Oakland advances local government engagement by combining community and coding.

Article - Sep 8, 2021
Making Sense of Municipal Budgets

This is the first in a series of three articles to help you understand and interpret local budgets. Learn more about the fundamentals of the municipal budget such as how city governments spend funds to what goes into a typical budget development process.

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