As depicted in the preceding illustration, the County Budget Process is a continuous cycle of developing, monitoring and planning. At the same time, there are certain steps involved in developing the annual budget.
The County's fiscal year spans from July 1 to June 30; however, the budget development process begins as early as December with the Board of Supervisors setting a Preliminary Budget Schedule for preparation of the up-coming budget. The County Administrator presents the Board, Department Heads and the public with an analysis of key issues and budget projections in January, followed by budget instructions, departmental budget submissions, meetings with Departments in February and March and presentation of the State Controller's Office required Budget Schedules and Recommended Budget for Board consideration in April. Absent the adoption of the County's Recommended Budget by June 30, the State Controller's Office Recommended Budget Schedules are passed into the new fiscal year as the spending authority until a Final Budget is adopted. Unlike the State Controller's Office Recommended and Final Budget schedules, which are solely publications of financial State Schedules required by State Statutes collectively referred to as the County Budget Act, the County Recommended Budget includes detailed information and narrative regarding the County, including its current and projected financial situation; the programs/services and administrative/program goals of individual Departments; and the County Administrator's budgetary recommendations for the upcoming budget year. After public hearings and budget deliberations, the Board adopts the Recommended Budget by May 31 (pursuant to Board Policy). After the State budget is passed (legally due by June 15) and County fiscal year-end closing activities are completed in August, a Final Budget is prepared for Board consideration. (Pursuant to the County Budget Act, the deadline for adopting a Final Budget is October 2 each year. This allows incorporation of any needed adjustments resulting from the State budget.) If significant changes to programs or revenues are required based upon the State budget and/or closing activities, public Budget Hearings regarding the Final Budget may be scheduled.
Budget Monitoring & Budget Adjustments
The County Administrator monitors actual expenditures and revenue receipts each month and mid-year adjustments may be made so that the County's Budget remains in balance throughout the fiscal year. On an annual basis, the County Administrator's staff prepares a report presented to the Board of Supervisors that details the activity within each budget category and provides summary information on the status of the County's Budget. Actions that are necessary to ensure a healthy budget status at the end of the fiscal year are recommended in the budget status report; other items which have major fiscal impacts are also reviewed.
Supplemental appropriations, which are normally financed by unanticipated revenues during the year, and any amendments or transfers of appropriations between summary accounts or departments, must be approved by the Board of Supervisors. Pursuant to a Board of Supervisor Resolution, the County Administrator is authorized to approve transfers of appropriations among summary accounts within a department as deemed necessary and appropriate. Accordingly, the legal level of budgetary control by the Board of Supervisors is at the department level.