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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.



Links to Budgets

For Examples of city and county budgets organized by jurisdiction, see MRSC's profile pages linked below.

Budget Education

Last Modified: August 13, 2015