About the Annual Budget

About the Annual Budget

How does the City of Stillwater determine how your tax dollars are used? Much like the budget you use at home. For instance, you plan for known expenses and if your roof begins to leak or a pipe in your kitchen bursts, you use money set aside for the unexpected or you have to adjust your spending to pay for the repairs.

The City, too, has to plan for the known expenses and also save for future and unexpected expenses. For example, the City must ensure proper funding in its Annual Budget so that:

  • departments have the funds they need to operate,
  • employees are compensated fairly for the work they do,

  • future capital projects are funded, and

  • reserve funds are adequate in case of emergency.


The Annual Budget

Developing and implementing the Annual Budget is one of the city manager's most important responsibilities. City Manager's Office uses a collaborative approach involving City Council, staff and the community.

The City's Annual Budget is composed of two components: The Operating Budget and The Community Investment Program's Planning Budget.

The Operating Budget is developed in stages. Learn more on The Annual Budget page.


Zero-Based Budgeting

The City has adopted the zero-based budgeting philosophy of budget preparation.  Department heads are charged with developing annual action plans to achieve departmental strategies. Budgets are built around the tactics used to complete the departmental strategies. Each department’s budget submission is measured for reasonableness against a rolling three-year average of actual expenditures. Large increases must be justified and related back to tactics used to achieve departmental strategies. Tactics change over time and so do budgets. 

For more information on zero-based budgeting, visit the hyperlinks below:


Budget Cycle

To do this, the City uses a four-step process (administrative budget preparation, City Council approval, implementation, and feedback in the form of year-end accounting and financial reporting) that takes into account the best interest of all stakeholders – citizens, elected officials and city staff—and is guided by the Stillwater Strategic Plan.


Stillwater Strategic Plan

The Stillwater City Council has established a set of strategic priorities and goals that influence how resources are allocated in the budget. The information outlined in the Stillwater Strategic Plan helps the city officials manage daily operations while remaining focused on challenges and opportunities for the future. 

The Strategic Plan's six strategic priorities are as follows:

  • Effective Services & Accountable Government

  • Inspired Management

  • Safe Community

  • Place & Mobility

  • Quality of Life

  • Civic Engagement