Fiscal 2023 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 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 2023 Budget Process Tracker
Planning for the Fiscal 2023 operating budget began in August 2021 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.
The Fiscal 2023 operating budget proposal process officially launched on Monday, November 1, 2021. Agencies have until December 10, 2021, to submit their budget proposals to BBMR. This year's budget process includes a relaunch of the City's Outcome Budgeting process, including Results Teams.
As part of the Fiscal 2023 budget process, Mayor Scott relaunched Results Teams as part of the budget process. These teams made up of City employees and residents, evaluate budget proposals from agencies to determine the best way to deliver the results that residents expect while maximizing the results per dollar spent. The Teams then present budget recommendations to the Mayor and Senior Team based on this review.
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 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.
The Executive Summary of Board of Estimates Recommendations for Fiscal 2023 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. 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.