Budget Process Updates
Every year, the City of Baltimore develops a budget for both the operating and capital budgets. The operating budget funds the daily business of the City, specifically covering programs, services, staff, and supplies. The capital budget funds physical infrastBudget Enactedructure projects, specifically major renovations and replacements that are long-term investments. While the Department of Finance submits the total budget to the Board of Estimates for review, the Bureau of Budget and Management Research (BBMR) oversees the operating budget planning process and the Department of Planning oversees the capital budget planning process. Learn more about the capital budget.
Fiscal 2025 Budget Process Tracker
Current Level of Service (CLS) Budget
Planning for the Fiscal 2025 operating budget began in August 2023 with the development of the Current Level of Service (CLS) budget. CLS serves as the baseline for the preliminary budget and assumes that the City will maintain the same level of services, but adds necessary costs, such as extraordinary inflation, or removes the prior year's one-time costs, such as new software or study. The CLS budget also includes changes across agencies, such as cost of living adjustments for salaries, negotiated pay increases, or changes in health benefit costs.
Agency Budget Proposals
The Fiscal 2025 operating budget proposal process officially launched on Monday, November 13, 2023. Agencies have until January 5, 2024, to submit their budget proposals to BBMR.
As part of the Fiscal 2025 budget process, Results Teams, made up of City employees and residents, are reviewing agency enhancement requests and BBMR analysts are reviewing agency service proposals. Requests will be reviewed and Results Teams and BBMR recommendations will be presented to the Mayor and Senior Team based on this review.
Preliminary Budget Planning
The Mayor and Senior Team have identified specific budget funding priorities and areas for savings based on a review of Results Team and Department of Finance recommendations. Based on these decisions, agencies and BBMR work together to finalize the preliminary budget in the budget system. During this time, BBMR prepares the Preliminary Budget, the first budget publication that will be presented to the Board of Estimates and the public. The Fiscal 2024 Preliminary Budget will be made available online on April 1, 2024.
Board of Estimates Preliminary Budget Plan Review
The Department of Finance introduces the Preliminary Budget Plan to the Board of Estimates (BOE) and the BOE begins the process of reviewing the proposed budget. This review process, which is laid out in the City Charter, includes a special hearing with the public, Taxpayers' Night, and a special meeting with agency heads, which will be held on April 24, 2024.
City Council Budget Review
The Executive Summary of Board of Estimates Recommendations for Fiscal 2025 is introduced and voted on by the Board. Once passed, the budget, the Ordinance of Estimates, is introduced at the next City Council meeting and the Agency Detail volumes are made available soon after introduction to City Council. The City Council begins the process of reviewing the recommended budget. This review process includes a special hearing with the public, Taxpayers' Night, and public hearings with agencies about their budgets, which can be streamed on CharmTV. This year's budget process is the first year the City Council can increase line items in the budget, which was passed via Charter amendment in November 2020. The Charter requires the City Council to pass a budget before June 26.
The City Council will vote on the Fiscal 2025 budget, the Ordinance of Estimates, before it goes for review by the Mayor. Fiscal 2024 was the first year the City Council could transfer funds between services in the General Fund. The Ordinance of Estimates passed by City Council will included any transfers made by the Council.