The budget process begins by publishing the budget calendar in January. The City Council strategic planning retreat occurs in February or March, during which public input is encouraged. Work begins on the next fiscal year budget during the month of March when department heads submit their budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year to the city manager. The city manager and the finance director prepare projected revenues by examining trends in the local economy. They consider the economic forecast for the upcoming year, trends in tourism, expansion of businesses and construction, and future grant opportunities. Continual discussion with department heads occurs until a balanced budget is reached that takes into consideration the City Council’s established priorities.
The city manager and finance director present more detailed information to the City Council in April and May, which includes the revenue forecast and the presentation of the recommended consolidated budget at a Work Session. This is followed by department heads presenting their department budgets to the City Council at a separate Work Session.
The City issues a public notice 15 days prior to the public hearing on the budget, which is then followed by the first and second reading of the budget ordinance before City Council for approval and adoption prior to June 30. Public input and comments are welcomed throughout the budget process -- during the strategic planning retreat, budget work sessions, public hearing, and first and second readings of the budget ordinance.
Beginning with the FY2024 budget, the City of Beaufort included funding for capital projects in the yearly budget, instead of authorizing each one on a project-by-project basis.
The budget year – fiscal year – begins on July 1 and ends the following year on June 30. This cycle is in synchronization with the State of South Carolina fiscal year calendar.