The Finance Department is responsible for producing, monitoring, and reporting the City's annual operating budget.
The City of Huntsville's fiscal year begins October 1 through September 30. Each spring the City begins the annual budget process to provide City Staff members with instructions and directions for budget request preparation. In accordance with the goals and priorities that resulted from this strategic planning session, City staff then prepare their departmental budget requests. Each City department prepares a base budget request and a supplemental budget request for each of their divisions.
The base budget is the portion of the budget that provides for the continuation of operations at the current service level taking into account the updated costs required to provide these services. The Supplemental Budget is the portion of the budget that includes new programs and personnel, new equipment, and any changes to the present level of service. Each department of the City prepares a budget that seeks to fulfill the City Council's strategic plan and long-term vision for the future of our community through every service they perform, both in daily operations and special projects and programs. Because of Huntsville's limited resources, not every budget request can be funded.
The City Manager reviews departmental budget requests and weighs them against available funding and other requests. The City Manager then presents a proposed budget to the City Council that includes recommended supplemental requests for new or expanded programs, additional personnel, new equipment, and proposed projects. The Council has the opportunity to revise the budget to conform with its objectives. Public Hearings regarding the budget and tax rate are held in July/August and open to the public.
The City budget contains several different funds with the largest being the General Fund which is used for general government services that do not need to be accounted for separately. Examples of general government services are police protection, fire protection, park maintenance, and administrative activities. Once adopted, the budget takes effect on the first day of the fiscal year (October 1) and any major change must be approved by the City Council.
Copies of the budget are available for review online or in the Finance Department office.