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Budget Timelines for the State’s Five Largest Cities

For vendors interested in working with the state’s five largest cities, here are important budget timelines you need to know.

A city skyline overlayed on stacks of coins with white dots connected by white lines throughout the image.
Similar to a recent story about doing business with the state’s five largest counties, Industry Insider — Florida has compiled the following on its largest cities with a focus on budget timelines and other need-to-know facts for vendors.

According to the Center for Digital Government*, the five largest cities by budget in Florida are Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Gainesville.

The city of Jacksonville is unique in that its government is consolidated with that of Duval County. The overall budget for the consolidated city in Fiscal Year 2023 is $3.8 billion, with an estimated IT budget of $77 million.

In terms of budget timelines, the city’s website outlines the following:
  • January: Departments submit capital improvement plan (CIP) forms with priority rankings
  • February: CIP submissions are reviewed and prioritized
  • March: The city’s Information Technology Plan (ITP) committee prepares a priority list of IT projects
  • March/April: Departments prepare and submit departmental budget requests to the budget office
  • April: The CIP and ITP are reviewed and recommended by the Mayor’s Budget Review Committee (MBRC)
  • April/May: Departmental budget review meetings are held with the budget office
  • May/June: The MBRC reviews departmental budgets
  • June: The mayor reviews the MBRC-approved budget and makes final budget decisions
  • July: The mayor’s proposed budget is presented to the City Council
  • July/August: The mayor and councilmembers hold community budget meetings throughout the city to garner citizen input
  • August: The Council Finance Committee and other standing committees review the proposed budget
  • September: The proposed budget is considered at regular city council meetings, after which the council adopts the budget ordinance and the mayor signs it
  • October: The new fiscal year begins
Second is Miami, which in Fiscal Year 2023 has an overall budget of $2.5 billion and an estimated IT budget of $50 million.

Every year the city adopts an operating and capital budget. For example, for FY 2023, the city’s adopted operating budget is $1.5 billion and its capital budget is $981 million, including $48 million in recently appropriated funds.

The city’s most recent budget lists the following:

  • January and February: Budget process for the upcoming year begins; the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sends budget instructions to all departments; departments develop base budgets and enter data into Hyperion; departments develop requests for new funding or enhancements and enter data into Hyperion; departments establish plans to reduce the budget through efficiencies or service cuts
  • March: Initial review and revision period begins; departments prepare and submit capital requests for funding; OMB staff start reviewing and discussing budget submissions with departments; department directors submit an email to the OMB director noting that data has been entered into Hyperion; mayor delivers State of the City address, setting priorities for the budget
  • April: Meetings between departments and OMB to discuss personnel costs, operating line items, unresolved matters, important issues and capital requests continue
  • May-June: Meetings with the city’s administration to discuss budget amounts, unresolved matters, important issues and capital requests occur, along with a revenue estimating conference
  • July: Operating and capital budget proposals are finalized; production of the proposed budget books is set in motion; the proposed operating and capital budgets are released by mid-July
  • September: The final operating budget and capital plan are adopted in late September
  • October: Line-item operating budgets are loaded, capital accounts are updated and adopted budget books are published
Third is Tampa, which in Fiscal Year 2023 has an overall budget of $1.9 billion and an estimated IT budget of $37 million.

The city’s website laid out its budget timeline for Fiscal Year 2023:
  • November: The mayor and senior staff review recent accomplishments and prioritize goals and objectives for the coming year
  • January-February: A five-year forecast is created and refined; the budget officer kicks off the Operating and Capital Budget Call
  • March: Departments begin creating and submitting capital and operational funding requests
  • May: The mayor delivers the annual State of the City address
  • Summer: The mayor reviews department funding requests; in late summer the City Council holds a budget workshop
  • August: The mayor presents a recommended budget to council
  • September: Public hearings are held for the budget; council approves the budget
  • Oct. 1: The new fiscal year begins
“The budget process allows for budget amendments as needed during the year,” the city’s website states. “An amendment may be initiated by the mayor at any time, and after city council approval, the funds appropriated are adjusted or realigned.”

Fourth is Orlando, which in Fiscal Year 2024 has an overall budget of $1.8 billion and an estimated IT budget of $35.3 million.

Regarding budget timelines, the city’s most recent budget documents outline the following:
  • February: Department revenue estimates are due
  • March: Capital requests are due
  • April: Department expenditure requests are due
  • May: The city’s budget office reviews and discusses department submissions
  • June: The city’s budget office shares its recommendations
  • July: Budget workshops take place
  • Sept. 13 and 27: Public budget hearings are held
  • Sept. 27: The budget is adopted
Fifth is Gainesville, which in Fiscal Year 2024 has an overall budget of $1.2 billion and an estimated IT budget of $23.5 million.

The city’s budget is typically developed in three phases.

According to the budget documents, here’s what occurs during phase one:
  • The budget office develops the annual budget calendar and recommended budget process, which is reviewed by the city manager and approved by the City Commission
  • Long-range city goals and work plans are reviewed, and the budget office develops revenue projections
  • Input from Gainesville neighbors on city services is encouraged and key issues are addressed in the coming year
  • Recommendations are received from advisory boards and committees
  • Through planning sessions or a retreat, the City Commission develops key issue statements and priorities for the city
  • The City Commission sets goals for the city
During phase two:
  • The city manager and departments meet to identify key issues and prepare service-level measures
  • Funding applications are distributed to outside agencies
  • Departments prepare and submit budget requests to the budget office
  • The budget office reviews budget requests for funding
  • The city manager’s office and the budget office staff prepare recommendations for the city manager’s review
  • The city manager makes recommendations and sets priorities
  • The city manager and the budget office prepare the proposed financial and operating plan for the fiscal year
During phase three:
  • The city manager presents components of the budget to the City Commission in May and June
  • The City Commission conducts workshop sessions during which the city manager and community builders review and explain the budget documents and city services involved
  • In July, the City Commission adopts a proposed property tax millage rate and a tentative fire assessment rate and sets the times and dates for the mandated public hearings
  • The Alachua County property appraiser is notified of the public hearings and the proposed tax millage rate and notifies each city property owner of the public hearings as required by the state’s Truth in Millage (TRIM) legislation
  • The city manager and the budget office prepare tentative budget resolutions and ordinances after public hearings
  • Within 15 days of the first public hearing, the city must advertise its intention to finalize its budget, the millage rate, the time and date for the final public hearing, and a summary of the proposed budget
  • Within 100 days of initial certification of value, and no less than two days or more than five days after the advertisement is published, the city holds a final public hearing to adopt the millage rate and budget
  • Within three days after the final public hearing, the city forwards the millage rate ordinance and resolution to the property appraiser and the tax collector
  • Within 30 days of the final adoption of the budget, the city files a certificate of compliance with the Florida Department of Revenue and provides certified copies of the required advertisements and approved ordinances
  • The approved financial and operating plan is prepared for distribution
*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Industry Insider — Florida's parent company.
Katya Diaz is an Orlando-based e.Republic staff writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in global strategic communications from Florida International University.