According to the Ohio Revised Code, an annual city budget must be created and passed by City Council. A three-month budget must be passed no later than December 31, and a final annual budget must be passed by March 31.
Step One: Projection of Income
The first step in the budget process is projecting the level of income that the city may receive in the following year. This is challenging, as it is typically completed in June of the prior year. Historical data is reviewed, meetings are held with the major employers in the area, and general assumptions are made about the health of the local economy.
Step Two: Preparation of Departmental Budgets
Once income assumptions have been completed, packages are prepared by the Finance Department for each individual department head. These packets include a three-year history of expenditures and any contracts for wages and benefits that may effect their department. The head of each department then prepares their requests.
Step Three: Budget Review
Each individual department head meets with the City Auditor, Safety-Service Director and the Mayor to review their budget requests. Members of City Council are invited to attend these meetings, as the department head will communicate projections for major expenditures upcoming in the following year.
Step Four: Presentation to Council
The next step is a budget presentation to City Council. Council frequently has several meetings with the Auditor and department heads to review the final budget.
Step Five: Council Approval
The final step is for City Council to vote for approval of the budget or to request amendments. Overall, the process takes about six months to complete.