2024 City and Town Budget Calendar
This page shows the statutory deadlines for cities and towns in Washington State to prepare a budget for the coming year, along with examples of planning calendars adopted by cities and towns 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 2023 while preparing a budget for the coming 2024 budget year.
Annual Budget Deadlines
The annual budget deadlines are found in chapter 35A.33 RCW (code cities) and chapter 35.33 RCW (all other cities and towns except Seattle) and outlined below. Seattle has different requirements that are not discussed here.
Biennial Budget Deadlines
Cities and towns that have adopted a biennial (two-year) budget have the same statutory deadlines (see chapters 35.34 RCW and 35A.34 RCW), with the addition of a budget review and adjustment eight to 12 months into the first year. By law, the biennium must begin on January 1 of an odd-numbered year.
The current biennial period is 2023-2024, which means all cities and towns using a biennial budget prepared their initial budgets in 2022 and will conduct a mid-biennium review and adjustment sometime between September 1 and December 31, 2023.
For more information on biennial budgets, see our page on Biennial Budgeting.
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 City and Town Budget Procedures.
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 – cities and towns can take these steps earlier than the dates listed, and the statutes allow cities and towns to adopt different deadlines for some of these steps by ordinance or charter. We recommend that each city and town develop a timeline that best meets its needs, assures compliance with the statutes, and provides sufficient time to prepare this vital financial plan.
For examples of budget calendars adopted by cities and towns that go beyond the minimum statutory requirements, see the examples section below.
|2024 Budget Calendar for Cities and Towns|
|Pre-Budget Items (Spring/Summer)||Council retreat;
Adopt/update financial policies;
Public hearings for capital facility plan updates;
Public forums or community outreach (ex: community priorities);
Mayor/manager communicates budget objectives to staff
|Sept. 11||Budget request to all department heads|
|Sept. 11-24||Department heads prepare estimates of revenues and expenditures;
Clerk prepares estimates for debt service and all other estimates
|Sept. 25||Implicit price deflator calculated (only applies to cities of 10,000+ population)|
|Sept. 25||Budget estimates from department heads filed with clerk|
|Oct. 2||Clerk provides estimates filed by department heads to mayor/manager showing complete financial program|
|Oct. 2||Mayor/manager provides council with estimates of revenues from all sources, including estimates prepared by clerk, for consideration of setting property tax levy|
|Mid-October to mid-November (approx.)||Public hearing on revenue sources including possible increases in property tax|
|Nov. 2||Mayor/manager prepares preliminary budget and budget message; files with clerk and council|
|Nov. 1-18 (approx.)||Publication notice of preliminary budget and final hearing|
|Nov. 1-25 (approx.)||Public hearing(s) on preliminary budget|
|Nov. 21||Copies of budget available to public|
|Nov. 30||Property tax levies set by ordinance and filed with county|
|Dec. 4||Final budget hearing|
|Dec. 31||Budget adoption deadline|
Examples of City/Town Budget Planning Calendars
Below are a few examples of budget preparation calendars adopted by cities or towns that go beyond the minimum statutory requirements. Please note that the exact dates and statutory deadlines listed may vary slightly from year to year due to normal calendar fluctuations.
Annual Budget Preparation Calendars
- Lynden 2019 Budget Calendar – Begins with review of six-year capital plan in spring.
- Ridgefield 2022 Budget Calendar – Includes useful pre-budget steps such as reviewing financial policies and updating indirect cost allocation plan.
Biennial Budget Preparation Calendars
- Anacortes 2017-2018 Mid-Biennium Budget Adjustment Calendar
- Federal Way 2017-2018 Mid-Biennium Budget Adjustment Calendar
- Kennewick 2019-2020 Budget Calendar – Initial biennial budget; includes helpful notes indicating which steps have required statutory deadlines.
- Kent 2017-2018 Budget Calendar – Initial biennial budget, beginning with internal service baseline meetings in January; does not include mid-biennium budget adjustment.
- Leavenworth 2019-2020 Budget Calendar – Includes initial city biennial budget as well as mid-biennium adjustment. Also includes calendars for transportation benefit district (biennial) and park & recreation service area (annual) budgets.
- Lynnwood Resolution Nos. 2018-02 and 2019-02 (2018-2019) – Two separate resolutions: one establishing initial biennial budget calendar beginning with council retreat at beginning of year, and the other establishing a mid-biennium adjustment calendar.
- Stanwood 2017-2018 Budget Calendar – Initial biennial budget; does not include mid-biennium budget adjustment.