Budgeting for Policy Results and Outcomes
How is the County's Budget Structured?
Budgets are organized by funds. Funds can incorporate one or many programs across one or more agencies. There are 91 funds with appropriations in the 2020 Approved Budget. The General Fund is the chief operating fund for the County and includes all revenues unless they are required to be accounted for in another fund. Special Revenue Funds receive revenues from tax levies, grants, and federal and state social service programs – the largest of which are the Board of Developmental Disabilities Fund, the Children Services Levy Fund, the Public Assistance Fund (Job and Family Services), and the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Levy Fund. Other Funds include Capital Project Funds (which pay for the acquisition or construction of major capital items), Debt Service Funds (which pay the principle and interest on County-issued bonds), and Internal Service & Enterprise Funds (which support business-like activities for internal and external customers).
Budgets are further separated by 35 agencies (see Budgetary Organizational Chart here
) and broken down into programs, which group together the revenues and expenses to provide a particular service or type of service. Line items (object codes) are grouped together in roll-up categories with other similar types of expenses, such as Personal Services, Fringe Benefits, and Materials & Services. Appropriations, or the authority to make expenditures for specified purposes, are made at the fund/agency/roll-up level, which means that an agency has some flexibility in spending across programs to meet changing needs during the year, as well as between the line items within the category. Additions to or transfers between the categories require the approval of the Board of Commissioners.
January – December
Office of Management & Budget (OMB) analysts monitor adherence to budget & performance targets throughout the year.
May – June
Budget instructions are released. Agencies identify strategic initiatives and operational performance measures, which are linked to the Board of Commissioners’ Core Principles, for each program in their Strategic Business Plan. Strategic business plans and baseline payroll information are reviewed by OMB staff.
July – September
Budget requests are submitted. OMB staff meets with agencies to review the prior and current year expenditures, and what resources will be needed to accomplish their performance targets in the upcoming year. Briefs are prepared and presented to County Administration.
October – November
County Administration and OMB develop budget recommendations for each program, ensuring the most cost-effective use of available resources. The Recommended Budget is presented to the Board of Commissioners, and followed by a series of public meetings in which agencies present their budgets and performance measures.
After any revisions are made, the Approved Budget is voted on and adopted by the Board of Commissioners.