The Mayor-Council Act of 1955 (as amended) outlines the procedures to be followed in developing and adopting the annual operating and capital budgets for the City of Birmingham. The relevant sections of the Mayor-Council Act are enumerated here. It should be noted that legally adopted annual budgets are not required for Special Revenue and Capital Projects Funds. Budgets for these funds are approved by the City Council on an individual project basis. Formal budgetary integration is employed for the General Fund as a management control device. Such integration is not deemed necessary for Debt Service Funds because effective budgetary control is alternatively achieved through the general obligation indenture provisions.
The Budget Process (summary)
- The fiscal year for the City of Birmingham begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th.
- On or before May 20th, the Mayor submits to the City Council a proposed General Fund Operating Budget for the fiscal year commencing the following July 1st. The General Fund Operating Budget includes proposed expenditures and sources of revenues.
- A public hearing is conducted to obtain taxpayer comments.
- Prior to July 1st, the budget is legally enacted through passage of an ordinance.
- The Mayor is authorized to transfer budgeted amounts within departmental appropriations within a fund. However, any revisions that alter the total expenditures for any fund transfers funds between departments or between approved capital projects must be approved by the City Council.
- Adopted budgets for the General Fund are consistent with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) except that budgets and budgetary schedules included are prepared using encumbrance accounting under which purchase orders, contracts and other commitments for the expenditure of monies are recorded. At the end of the fiscal year, unencumbered appropriations of the General Fund automatically lapse. Appropriations for capital improvement projects do not lapse until the project has been completed or abandoned.
- The adopted General Fund budget is allocated to each department or agency of the City as provided in the Mayor-Council Act. Total expenditures may not exceed appropriations unless the City Council amends the budget due to increased revenues or through a reduction of fund balance. The City Council has the authority to amend the budget as needed throughout the year provided adequate funds are available at the time of the amendment.
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