The Budget Process

County budgets must be balanced, meaning expenditures must equal revenues. In addition, voters must approve spending obligations beyond one fiscal year. The proposed budget must be approved by July 20 and the final budget adopted by September 30 as required by State law.

The Budget Calendar


The County Administrator sends budget instructions to departments. A budget workshop is held, and departments begin preparing budget requests for next fiscal year.


The departments submit estimates of current year expenditures and revenues to the County Administrator, including current and proposed programs or changes for the following fiscal year.


The Board of Supervisors conducts a Budget Policy Workshop giving direction to the County Administrator’s Office on budget goals and policies.

March to May

Budget requests are reviewed and analyzed by the County Administrator, and meetings are held to discuss budget requests, and financing limits. Departments amend their requests and the County Administrator prepares the final recommendations for a balanced budget based on the latest available information. The County Administrator, in consultation with the departments and the Auditor-Controller, makes necessary adjustments to bring proposed total expenditures in line with total anticipated revenues.


The proposed budget document with supporting information is presented to the Board of Supervisors. The proposed budget is approved by the Board and becomes the legal authority to continue services until the final budget is adopted. Copies of the proposed budget are available for the public.


The Board of Supervisors conducts public budget hearings. The calendar for these hearings is published in the local newspapers. Dates and times are available at the Office of the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors or the County Administrator’s Office.


The Board formally adopts the final budget including changes made during the budget hearings.

The final adopted budget may be amended during the year for unforeseen revenue and expenditure changes. The Board of Supervisors can consider proposals for amendments at the weekly Board meetings. Requests for additional services and/or program improvements are also considered when new or additional revenue is received. A 4/5 vote is required to appropriate unanticipated revenue or to transfer funds from the contingency budget. Other transfers or reductions in appropriations may also be considered, which would require a 3/5 vote.

Each quarter, county departments submit an accounting of current activity and an estimate of ending balances in light of this activity. The County Administrator’s Office analyzes the data, identifying variances and guiding departments to necessary adjustments.

At year-end uncommitted funds or revenue received in excess of budgeted amounts are included in the carry-over balance for the next fiscal year.

Binder - Budget Process