Legal Requirements & Budget Calendar

Budget Submission

The City Manager shall prepare and submit to the Council not fewer than seventy-five (75) days prior to the beginning of the fiscal year a budget and accompanying explanation. The budget shall provide a complete financial plan of all City funds and activities for the ensuing fiscal year, and, except as required by law or this Charter, shall be in such form as the City Manager deems desirable or as the Council may require. Additionally, the City Manager shall prepare a long-range capital program and submit the same to Council two (2) weeks prior to submission of budget. (Sec. 9.3 & 9.4, Home Rule Charter)

After submission, a public hearing on the proposed budget and capital program shall be held by Council, at which time all interested persons are given an opportunity to be heard. After the public hearing, the Council may adopt the budget with or without amendment. However, if the total proposed expenditures are increased or decreased by more than five (5) percent, another public hearing shall be held. (Sec. 9.5 & 9.6)

The budget shall be adopted on or before the first day of the fiscal year. If it fails to adopt a budget by this date, the amounts appropriated for the operation during the prior fiscal year shall be deemed adopted for the current fiscal year on a month-to-month basis until such time as the Council adopts the budget. (Sec.9.7)

Public Records

Copies of the budget and the capital program as adopted shall be public records and shall be made available to the public in the office of the City Clerk. (Sec. 9.9)

Budget Administration

Responsibility for administering the annual budget is the City Manager’s. (Sec. 4.2)

At any time during the fiscal year, the City Manager may transfer part or all of any unencumbered appropriation balance among programs within a department, office, or agency, and upon written request of the City Manager, the Council may, by motion or resolution, upon affirmative vote of a majority of Council Members present, transfer part or all of any unencumbered appropriation balance from one department, office, agency, or object to another. (Sec. 9.10d)

No appropriation for debt service may be reduced or transferred, and no appropriation may be reduced below any amount required by law to be appropriated, or by more than the amount of the unencumbered balance thereof. Emergency appropriations and reduction or transfer of appropriations authorized by this section may be made effective immediately upon adoption. (Sec 9.10e)

Budget Amendments

Budget amendments are changes to the original budget ordinance that affect different programs or functions or a department, division, office, or agency.

If during the fiscal year, the City Manager certifies that there are available for appropriation, revenues more than those estimated in the budget, the Council, by ordinance, may make supplemental appropriations for the year up to the amount of such excess. (Sec. 9.10a)

To meet a public emergency affecting public health, peace, welfare, safety or property, the Council may adopt an emergency appropriation. (Sec. 9.10b)

Budget Basis

The budgets of governmental type funds (including the general, capital projects, and community housing funds) are prepared on a modified accrual basis. Briefly, this means that obligations of the city (for example accounts payable) are budgeted as expenses, but revenues are recognized only when received.

The enterprise funds (wastewater, water, airport, and golf funds) are budgeted on a full accrual basis with some exceptions. Depreciation, amortization and accrued compensated absences are not budgeted. Also, capital expenditures and debt service payments are budgeted. Expenditures are recognized when a commitment is made (when a purchase order is produced or an item is purchased on account), and revenues are recognized when they are obligated to the city (for example, utility fees are recognized as revenue when bills are produced).

The Annual Financial Report shows the status of the City’s finances based on “generally accepted accounting principles” (GAAP). In most cases this conforms to the way the city prepares its budget with the exceptions of depreciation, amortization and accrued compensated absences noted above which are not included in the budget. The full purchase price of equipment and debt service payments are included in the budget for all funds but are treated slightly differently in the Annual Financial Report.

Lapse of Appropriations

An annual appropriation or any portion thereof remaining unexpended and unencumbered at the close of the fiscal year shall lapse and revert to the General Fund, or to a special fund if the Council so directs. (Sec. 9.12)

Contingency Expenditures

The Council may provide in the budget for reasonable contingency accounts in any City funds; and Council, by ordinance, may establish a separate fund to be known as the Contingency Fund. (Sec. 9.13)

Special Funds

In addition to funds provided in this Charter, the Council may, by ordinance, establish special funds as it deems necessary and appropriate. The ordinance establishing such funds shall clearly state the purpose for the fund. (Sec. 9.14)

Budget Calendar

The bulk of budget preparation takes place between June and September each year. During the year, budget transfers and appropriations take place. The following is a calendar of important budget dates.

  • January 30 Certified copy of the adopted budget must be filed with the Division of Local Government. (29-1-113 (1) (3), C.R.S.).
  • May - Capital project budget process begins
  • June - Departments begin preparing the next year’s budget request
  • July - Management Team discusses and prioritizes capital projects
  • August - Budget meetings between City Manager, Director of Financial Services, and Department Directors take place.
  • September - City Council receives proposed budget last week of September
  • October - City Council holds a public hearing on the proposed budget
  • October 15 - Statutory deadline by when budget officer must submit proposed budget to the governing board. (29-1-106 (a), C.R.S.).
  • October/November - 1st & 2nd reading of budget ordinance
  • December 15 - Deadline for certification of mill levy to county commissioners. Local governments levying a property tax must adopt budget and make appropriations prior to certifying the mill levy. (29-1-108 (2) (3), C.R.S.).
  • December 31 - Deadline for local governments not levying a property tax. Must adopt budget on or before this date. (29-1-108(4), C.R.S.).
  • Ongoing - Supplemental ordinances are submitted to the City Council as required. These may include revenues and expenditures not previously budgeted and carryover items from the previous year.