About Two-Year Budgeting
An Introduction to the Two-Year Budget
In November 2000, Westminster voters approved a ballot initiative that amended the City Charter to enable the city to adopt a two-year budget. Under previous requirements of the City Charter, the city was mandated to adopt an annual budget immediately prior to the upcoming fiscal year. The 2000 voter approved amendment to the City Charter allows the city to adopt both the first and the second years' budgets at the same time.
Many municipalities around the country adopt two-year budgets. Generally, these municipalities adopt two, separate 12-month budgets to cover the two-year adopted budget time frame. Few municipalities adopt a single 24-month, two-year budget. Per Colorado state statutes, all municipalities in the state of Colorado must adopt an annual budget, meaning that each budget period must be no more than 12-months.
During 2010, city staff and City Council developed a two-year budget for 2011 and 2012; City Council officially adopted the two-year budget in October 2010. It is the fifth officially adopted two-year budget for the City of Westminster.
What Are the Benefits of Two-Year Budgeting?
Biennial budgeting helps policymakers focus on long-term and strategic aspects of budgeting, rather than narrowly concentrating on "number crunching" for a single year. A biennial budget is also a better complement to the city's long-term strategic plan, the five-year Capital Improvement Program and other long-term planning tools.
Additionally, the biennial budget will lead to more consistent citywide priorities from year to year.
How Will Citizen Requests Be Handled With the Two-Year Budget?
The city will use every communication medium it can to tell residents about the budget process. Residents are encouraged to present requests for funding for both years of the biennial budget to City Council during the budget preparation season. The budget preparation season takes place in the summer and fall of even numbered years.
The city recognizes that some flexibility is needed in this, and other aspects, of the two-year budget development process. Therefore, City Council will continue to listen to citizen needs and attempt to address those needs in a timely fashion. If additional revenue is available in the "off year" of the budget development process, City Council may elect to hold a public meeting to solicit additional citizen requests.