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Getting Started

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How-to for committees and other city entities to complete their annual budget and planning


Why do all this, anyway?

  1. For you: You will create to-do and shopping lists. These lists makes it more likely that you will work on the most important tasks and get what you need to accomplish them.
  2. For the city council: The elected council members are responsible to the taxpayers and voters for what you do and spend. To fulfill this oversight responsibility they must know what you are going to do and what you need to do it.
  3. For the public: The City of Gustavus is a public entity using public money. Taxpayers and voters have a right to know your proposed actions and comment on them.


Assistance is available from your planning and finance committee liaisons. They will help with every step of this process so do not hesitate to contact them.

More Background

More on the planning process and what your liaisons can do to help your city entity...

Basic Facts

What you need to know before starting

  • Planning is done each fiscal year. The city's fiscal year is the twelve-month period ending each June 30. For example, FY10 is the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, i.e. 7/1/2009 through 6/30/2010

  • Planning begins in October or November when you prepare your Annual Work Plans and Capital Requests. This is when you set your goals for the next fiscal year and figure out what you need to get and do to meet them. Your liaison from the planning committee should provide a pre-filled work plan with suggested goals based on the community's strategic plans and your current year goals (if any).
  • Your operating budget is prepared in February and March. The finance committee will supply budget forms pre-filled with current and/or previous year budget and actual amounts for your committee.

Planning Procedure Overview

Follow these steps to complete your annual budgets and plans. Remember, you have friends on the planning and finance committees to help you through each step of this process.

  1. Annual Work Plan. This is where you decide what you are going to do in the coming fiscal year. You must prepare your plan in a public meeting with the work plan posted as an agenda item. See a completed Example Work Plan...

  2. For each one-time purchase or project on your Annual Work Plan...
    1. Complete a capital request.
    2. Also complete a Project Scoping Form for each complex project (those with multiple items and services, high costs, or significant environmental or social impacts) (see a completed Example Project Scoping Form). The checklist on the project scoping form is a quick way to determine the significance of the project.
  3. Operating Budget. Complete the spreadsheet provided by your finance committee liaison for your ongoing, recurring income and expenses.
  4. Submit your operating budget by March 30. The clerk and planning committee will review your work plan and budget forms. They may have questions or suggestions for you, then they will pass them on to the City Council.

  5. Public Comment on the city budget before the City Council will happen at the May City Council meeting. The City Council will approve a budget in June and it may or may not be what you requested.

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