Budgeting is an essential element of the financial planning, control, and evaluation processes of government. The planning process involves determining the types and levels of services to be provided and allocating available resources among various departments, programs or functions. Financial control and evaluation procedures typically focus upon assuring that fixed expenditure limitations (appropriations) are not exceeded, and on comparing estimated and actual revenues and expenditures. The budget authorizes and provides control of financial operations during the fiscal year. Upon adoption, the expenditure estimates, as modified by the Council, are enacted into law through the passage of an appropriations ordinance.
The appropriations constitute maximum expenditure authorizations during the fiscal year, and cannot be exceeded until subsequently amended by the Council. Expenditures are monitored through the accounting system to assure budgetary compliance.
The City of Port Townsend's accounting and budgeting systems are organized and operated on a fund basis as required by state law. A fund is defined as a fiscal and accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts recording cash and other financial resources.
The funds are segregated for the purpose of carrying on specific activities or attaining certain objectives. Funds are budgeted on a cash basis in accordance with the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 36.33.
While typically thought of as a financial activity done to satisfy state law, budgeting is a process of planning. Fiscal planning involves all elements of government and should be considered one of the most important functions for city officials.
City Budget Documents