How to Create a City Budget

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Sticking to a budget is crucial for a city. A budget ensures there are ample funds for employees, events, and maintenance and renovations. Having a clear city budget helps everyone see exactly how much money is available for each area in the city. This allows city council members to better plan for the year ahead. City budgets can also be analyzed to help predict future trends and correct past problems. Creating a city budget can be time-consuming, but is well worth the time.

Create a detailed list of all city employees, events and businesses. This list can include governmental employees, committee luncheons and libraries. Include everyone who is paid by the city.

Create a detailed list of any maintenance and renovations. This can include repairing downtown buildings, adding or maintaining a park and upgrading the city's computers.

Create a list of each city department along with its needs. Don't include employees. This is covered in Step 1. For instance, the recreational department will need money for travel brochures, advertising and regular office supplies.

Determine the exact amount of funds available for the year. Budgets are normally created on a year-by-year basis and then are broken down into appropriate sections, such as monthly or by category.

Break down your three lists into sections. Sections can include Wages, Special Events, Departments, Maintenance, Additions and Miscellaneous. You can include other sections based on each city's specific needs.

Allocate funds to each section, starting with the most important. Wages, Departments and Maintenance are typically the most important. Once these sections have adequate funds, allocate funds to the other sections. If enough funds aren't available, determine which events and needs may need to be cut back on for the year.


  • Create the budget as a committee. This helps prevent disagreements later.


  • Never assume you'll have extra funding later in the year. Plan the budget based upon the lowest amount you have available to prevent overspending.