The Budget Development Process
The budget is a plan that tells how the city will use limited financial resources to best provide for the needs of its citizens. The final plan is the responsibility of the City Council and the Mayor based on the recommendations of the individual departments within the city.
The budget should be a document that can be used to inform and educate the public and elected officials about the city’s structure, achievements, challenges, and direction. A budget document should ideally be a policy document, an operations guide, a financial plan, and a communication device.
The City of Meridian uses program based budgeting. A program is a broad category of similar services (WHAT) for an identifiable group (WHO) and for a specific purpose (WHY). A program has specified goals and objectives. The first step in the budget process is to identify the needs or problems that make the program necessary.
Once the program need has been identified and the program goal established the program must be evaluated. This requires systematic review to determine if the program is meeting its goals or moving in the right direction. From this evaluation financial needs can be identified and financial expenditures tied to results.