The new budget preparation season is here! A memo to all departments with instructions for the FY25 budget planning process were distributed. While departments work on their first draft budget requests, I have been meeting one-on-one with City Councilors to go over their objectives and priorities. Their input helps me identify what some of the shared goals are and plan accordingly so that we are hitting our targets, or getting close to them. So the public is aware of the process, once departments submit to me their requests, the Auditor and I meet with the department heads to go over their requests in detail. At that point I begin to prepare my version of the budget which then gets submitted to the City Council during a State of the City Address. I anticipate submitting a proposed budget to the City Council by April for their review and approval. At that time, the City Council schedules meetings with departments heads and me to understand the budget and make their proposed cuts, if any. The Council can only subtract from the budget but not add. Finally, the City Council approves the final budget so that we can continue to operate our local government for FY25 which begins on July 1.
In past budget seasons, we made strides to reach our goal of helping departments ‘build-up’ and have made significant structural changes to department budgets to better meet objectives and limit impact to services. This year, we are limiting increases and are requesting that each department stay within a 2% total budget increase. This total should include contractual pay increases only and then increases to other expenses as appropriate up to but not beyond the total 2%.
It is expected for departments to be ready to explain in detail the thought behind their budget requests. The information they provide will assist me, our City Auditor, as well as the City Council Finance Committee and the rest of the City Council in understanding each department’s essential needs, preferences, and priorities in order to balance all funding requests. It will also help us identify any potential duplicate requests, or omissions. The deadline for submission is February 23, 2024.
More updates to come as the process progresses.
-Mayor Joshua A. Garcia