Fiscal 2022 Budget Process
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 infrastructure projects, specifically major renovations and replacements that are long-term investments. While the Department of Finance submits to 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 2022 Budget Process Tracker
Planning for the Fiscal 2022 operating budget began in August 2020 with developing the current level of service (CLS) budget. CLS is the budget that assumes the City maintains providing the same level of services, but includes costs necessary to maintain that level, such as extraordinary inflation, or removes one-time costs budgeted in the prior year, such as a 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.
The Fiscal 2022 operating budget proposal process officially launched on Thursday, November 5 with a presentation to City agencies about the proposal process and timeline. Agencies have until December 17, 2020 to submit their budget proposals to BBMR.
The Department of Finance and BBMR review agency budget proposals from January to March. This review looks at whether proposals meet the requirements laid out in the budget instructions and assessment of proposed budget reductions or increases. The Department of Finance presents budget recommendations to the Mayor and Senior Team based on the completed budget proposal review.
The Mayor and Senior Team have identified specific budget funding priorities and areas for savings based on a review of 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 Plan publication, the first budget publication that will be presented to the Board of Estimates and the public.
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. UPDATE: Presentation from and recording of Taxpayers' Night.
The Executive Summary of Board of Estimates Recommendations for Fiscal 2022 is introduced and passed out of the Board. The budget is then introduced at the next City Council meeting, the Ordinance of Estimates, 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. Currently, the City Charter only authorizes the City Council to reduce or eliminate line items in the budget, but a Charter Amendment passed in November 2020 will allow City Council to also increase line items in the budget after July 1, 2022. In addition, the Charter requires the City Council to pass a budget before June 25.