This page provides sample budget policies from cities and counties in Washington State, along with recommended resources to help develop a budget.
It is part of MRSC's series on Budgeting in Washington State.
Budget policies are typically adopted to clarify the budget process. Operating budget policies address roles and responsibilities of the budget process, timelines, definitions of a balanced budget, and budget controls such as fund balance levels. Budget policies are an important step in a more strategic and long-term financial planning approach to the fiscal wellbeing of local government.
These policies are often adopted every budget cycle as part of the budget document, or as part of a comprehensive financial management policy. Sometimes they are adopted as stand-alone policies.
Below are examples of stand-alone city and county budget policies.
For other examples that have been incorporated into comprehensive financial policies, see our page on Financial Policies Overview. For examples of actual budget documents, see MRSC’s Sample Document Library, City and Town Profiles, or County Profiles.
City/Town Annual Budget Policies
City/Town Biennial Budget Policies
- Auburn Budget Policies (2021-22)
- Bainbridge Island Budget Policies (2018)
- Federal Way Budget Policies (2016)
- Mercer Island Budget Policies (2017-18) – Very lengthy document
County Biennial Budget Policies
The Government Finance Officers' Association (GFOA) has some useful resources that can help you draft a budget policy, including:
- Adopting Financial Policies – Best practice that discusses the necessity of adopting operating budget policies.
- Achieving a Structurally Balanced Budget – Best practice that incorporates the concepts of a structurally balanced budget into the framework of operating budget policies.
- Financial Policies (2012) – For-purchase publication provides a step-by-step approach to developing and implementing financial policies.