The operating budget is probably a municipality's most important work product. The budget serves a number of functions. At the most basic level, it is a legal document that gives city or county officials the authority to incur obligations and pay expenses. It allocates resources among departments, reflecting the legislative body's priorities and policies and controls how much each department may spend.
In most jurisdictions, the budget has evolved from just being a collection of numbers. Budgets often include mission statements, goals, and objectives that convey to the citizens the vision for the future of the municipality's elected officials and let the officials communicate why they have allocated the scarce resources in the manner that they did. A budget can also be an evaluation tool, comparing commitments made in the previous year's budget with actual accomplishments.
- Budget Suggestions for 2016, MRSC publication
- Biennial Budgeting, MRSC
- Guide to Financial Literacy, Volume 1, by Justin Marlowe, Governing Institute, 2014 – A starters guide to financial literarcy with a broad overview of budgeting best practices. Includes everything from budget basics, to legacy costs, to reporting.
- Guide to Financial Literacy, Volume 2, by Justin Marlowe, Governing Institute, 2014 – A follow-up to the first volume, this guide focuses on financial health. It reviews how to define your organization's financial health, ways of tracking your success, and tips for improving financial health.
- Anatomy of a Priority-Based Budget Process, by Shayne C. Kavanagh, Jon Johnson, and Chris Fabian, Government Finance Officers Association, March 2011. Kavanaugh et al. expand on the model of Osborne and Hutchison in Budgeting for Outcomes, using examples from cities and counties they have worked with, including Snohomish County. Redmond has also worked with GFOA in developing its "Budgeting by Priorities" process.
- Budgeting for Cash Basis Cities and Towns, Section E from Small Cities Handbook, Washington State Auditor 09/2006
- Budgeting for Cities and Towns in Washington State, developed by (at the time) Renton Finance Director Michael Bailey (now Redmond), and Tumwater Finance Director Gayla Gjertsen (retired) for the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) and the Washington Finance Officers Association (WFOA), 07/2002
- Budgets - MRSC Inquiries (Ask MRSC)
- Zero-Based Budgeting: Modern Experiences and Current Perspectives, by Shayne C. Kavanagh; sponsored by the Government Finance Officers Association and the City of Calgary, Alberta, 2011
- GFOA Budgeting and Financial Planning Best Practices
Links to Budgets
For Examples of city and county budgets organized by jurisdiction, see MRSC's profile pages linked below.