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2023 Budget Calendar for Counties

This calendar shows the statutory deadlines for counties in Washington State to prepare a budget for the coming year, along with examples of budget planning calendars adopted by counties that go beyond the minimum statutory requirements.

It is part of MRSC's series on Budgeting in Washington State.

We update this page every year prior to budget season. The dates shown currently are for use in calendar year 2022 while preparing a budget for the coming 2023 budget year.



Annual Budget Deadlines

The annual budget deadlines and requirements for counties are found in chapter 36.40 RCW and outlined below.


Biennial Budget Deadlines

Counties that have adopted a biennial (two-year) budget have the same statutory requirements and deadlines (RCW 36.40.250) as those required in the annual adoption process, plus the addition of a budget review and adjustment midway through the biennium. Unlike cities, a county fiscal biennium may begin on January 1 of any calendar year.

For more information on biennial budgets, see our page on Biennial Budgeting.


Budget Calendar

Below is an overview of the budgeting process and statutory deadlines. For a detailed explanation of the budget requirements, as well as some helpful practice tips, see our page on Budget Preparation Procedures for Counties.

Most of the pre-budget items listed here are included as recommendations only and are not required by statute. The rest of the items are statutory deadlines only, and the board of commissioners may set alternative dates for the budget process to conform to the alternative preliminary budget hearing date in December (RCW 36.40.071).

Many counties have adopted alternative dates, and we recommend that each county develop a timeline that best meets its needs, ensures compliance with the statutes, and provides sufficient time to prepare this vital financial plan.

For examples of budget calendars adopted by counties that differ from the statutory requirements, see the Examples section below.

2023 Budget Calendar for Counties
* Asterisk indicates date may be altered if using alternate budget calendar (RCW 36.40.071)
Pre-Budget Items (Spring) Strategic planning sessions to develop goals and priorities;
Adopt/update financial policies;
Public hearings for capital facility plan updates (fully planning GMA counties);
Capital improvement plan updates (partially planning GMA counties);
Communicate budget objectives to county departments and elected offices
July 11* County auditor of chief financial officer (CFO) notifies all officials of the request for budget
Aug. 8* Budget estimates from all officials filed with auditor/CFO;
Deadline for auditor/CFO to prepare estimates for debt service and all other estimates not called for in the notification to officials
Sept. 6* Preliminary county budget prepared by auditor or CFO is submitted to commissioners
Sept. 19* Notice of public hearing on budget and property tax levies;
Copies of budget available to public
Sept. 25 Implicit price deflator calculated (only applies to counties of 10,000+ population)
Oct. 3* Final budget hearing by board of commissioners
Dec. 5 Alternate final budget hearing date;
Deadline to certify to assessor next year's property taxes levied on behalf of other taxing districts (such as fire districts)
Dec. 15 Deadline to certify to assessor next year's property tax levies for county purposes
Dec. 31 Budget adoption deadline

Examples of County Budget Planning Calendars

Please note that the exact dates and statutory deadlines listed may vary slightly from year to year due to normal calendar fluctuations. As noted above, many counties have adopted alternate dates under RCW 36.40.071.


Last Modified: March 16, 2022