The City of Tulsa’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30 each year. The City prepares an annual budget based on the Oklahoma Municipal Budget Act (11 Q.S., S.17-201-17-216) and City Charter. State law requires the City to carry a balanced budget. The budget process includes the budget for the following fiscal year as well as a plan for the year after that, allowing the City to look ahead 2 years each budget. The Mayor of the City must present a budget to the City Council followed by opportunities for public hearings on the proposed budget. The budget is then voted on by the City Council.
The City has to plan for the known expenses and save for future and unexpected expenses. The City must ensure adequate funding so that departments have the funds they need to operate, employees are compensated fairly, capital projects are funded, and reserve funds are available in case of emergency.
Below is information regarding the budget process for fiscal year 2024 including the budget process steps, key definitions, and links to relevant City Council meetings.
Understanding the Budget Process
There are multiple steps the City of Tulsa Mayor and City Council takes in order to finalize and adopt the proposed budget for the following fiscal year:
The Mayor and City Council meet to discuss their priorities for the city and how each of those priorities will potentially impact the operating budget. You can view last year's priorities here.
The Mayor works with his or her team in order to create a proposed budget. This budget is presented to the City Council for approval.
Mayor Preparation & Proposal
The Council holds committee meetings to discuss the Mayor's proposed budget. The proposed budget is open for public hearing where citizens of Tulsa have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed budget.
Council Consideration & Public Hearings
After the public hearings, the budget is read for the first time at a City Council meeting.
The budget is read for a second time at a City Council meeting where it is then voted on for approval by the City Council. If the City Council votes to approve or modify the budget for the upcoming year.
2nd Reading & Vote
Below is a timeline with important dates. Links to additional resources will be added as they become available:
The Mayor and City Council held a retreat to discuss their priorities for Tulsa in the upcoming year.
Recap of retreat priorities and action steps to be presented to the City Council at a Committee Meeting.
Mayor Bynum is projected to present his budget to the City Council.
May or June (TBD)
A public hearing will be held at a 5pm Regular City Council meeting.
The budget is scheduled to have its first reading during the 5pm Regular City Council meeting.
The budget is scheduled to have its second reading during the 5pm Regular City Council meeting. Council is projected to vote to approve, amend or deny the proposed budget.
First update on progress made on Mayor/Council Retreat priorities to be presented at a Committee Meeting.
Second update on progress made on Mayor/Council Retreat priorities to be presented at a Committee Meeting.
Presentations on specific budget items will be added here as they become available.
Activity: Departmental efforts witch contribute to the achievement of a specific set of program objectives; the smallest unit of the program budget.
Ad Valorem taxes: Commonly referred to as property taxes, levied on both real and personal property according to the property's valuation and tax rate.
Appropriation: An authorization or allocation made by the legislative body that permits officials to incur obligations against, and to make expenditures of governmental resources.
Asset: Resources owned or held by a government which has monetary value.
Available (Undesignated or Unreserved) Fund Balance: This refers to the funds remaining from the prior year, after reserves and designations are made, which are available for appropriation and expenditure in the current year.
Balanced Budget: The use of resources for operating purposed does not exceed available resources over a defined budget period.
Bond: A long term IOU or promise to pay; it is a promise to repay a specified amount of money (the face amount of the bond) on a particular date (the maturity date.) Bonds are primarily used to finance capital projects.
Budget: A plan of financial activity for a fiscal year indicating all planned revenues and expenses for the budget period. The City of Tulsa's fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.
Budget Amendment: Legal means by which an adopted estimated revenue or expenditure authorization limit is increased or decreased.
Budget Ordinance: The legal means to amend the adopted budget through recognizing revenue increase or decreases; transferring funding from one department to another from an existing capital project to a new capital project; decreasing funding of a fund or department providing supplemental funding to a fund or department of establishing a new capital project. The City Council adopts. or rejects all budget ordinances.
Budgetary Transfer: One of two means of amending the budget during the course of the fiscal year. The other means is a budget ordinance. The three types of budgetary transfer are:
Administrative Transfer (AT): A budgetary transfer that allows for movement of funds within the same expenditure account group within the same department, same fund and same project. This action requires Budget and Planning Division Manager approval.
Mayoral Transfer (MT): allows for the movement of up to $100,000 from one expenditure account group to another account group or from one current project to another current project within the same department and fund. This action requires approval by the Mayor.
Council Transfer: A Budgetary Transfer that allows for movement of money from one department to another or for the establishment of a new capital project. A budget ordinance accompanies this kind of transfer and requires approval by the City Council.
Capital Budget: The appropriation of bonds or other revenue for improvements to facilities or other infrastructure. The City budgets for Capital based on a Five-Year Capital Plan and updates the Plan annually to include expended capital projects or new capital projects. Approval of capital projects through the Capital Improvements Programs. The Third Party Sales Tax and Bonds account for the majority of financing resources of capital projects.
Capital Improvements Program (CIP): The process of planning, monitoring, programming and budgeting over a multi-year period used to allocate the City's capital monies.
Carryover: Appropriated funds that are encumbered at the end of a fiscal year are allowed to be retained in the budget to be expended in the next fiscal year for the purpose designated.
Collective Bargaining Agreement: A legal contract between the employer and a verified representative of a recognized bargaining unit for specific terms and conditions of employment (e.g., hours, working conditions, salary, fringe benefits and matters affecting health and safety of employees.)
Encumbrance: Obligations in the form of purchase orders or contracts that are chargeable to an appropriation and for which a part of the appropriation is reserved. These cease to be encumbrances once he obligations are paid or otherwise liquidated.
Enterprise Funds: Established to account for revenues and expenditures generated by City functions for which customers are charged a fee.
Fiscal Year: A twelve-month period designated as the operating year for accounting and budgeting purposes in an organization. The City of Tulsa's fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.
Fund: An independent accounting entity with a self-balancing set of accounts for recording all revenues and all related liabilities and residual equities or balances, along with any changes to the above. In other words, each fund is separate from every other fund and maintains records of all income and expenditures for the fund. by law, expenditures cannot exceed the revenues.
Fund Balance: The excess of the assets of a fund over its liabilities, reserves and carryover.
Assigned Fund Balance: refers to the funds intended use of resources. Such intent has to be established by the governing body itself or by a body or official delegated by the governing body.
Unassigned Fund Balance: total fund balance in the general fund in excess of non-spendable, restricted, committed, and assigned fund balance.
General Fund: Serves as the primary operating fund for the City of Tulsa. All general operations that are not accounted for otherwise are financed from this primary operating fund.
Materials and Supplies: Expenditure account category used for the purchase of commodities which are consumed or materially altered when used, such as office supplies, operating supplies, repair and maintenance supplies, and all items of expense to any person, firm or corporation rendering a service in connection with repair, sale or trade of such articles or commodities.
Operating Budget: This sets the plan for the day-to-day operations of the City. The City budgets operating funds annually, based on historical expenditures, priorities set forth by elected officials, and economic conditions. Sales Tax Revenues and Utility Billing Charges provide the majority of the resources available for use within the Operating Budget.
Original Budget: the adopted budget as approved by the City Council before the start of a new fiscal year.
Other Services: and Charges: Expenditure account category used for the purchase of contractual services and other intangible products such as security, temporary employment, professional and landscaping services, leases, utilities, and employee training and travel.
Personal Services: Expenditure account category used for all cost related to compensating employees, including employee benefits such as pension, social security, uniform allowance, long-term disability, insurance workers compensation, etc.
Program Budget: A budget which allocates money to the functions or activities of a government rather than to specific items of cost or to specific departments.
Reserve: A portion of fund equity legally restricted for a specific purpose or not available for appropriation and subsequent spending, It is funds set aside for emergencies or unforeseen expenditures not otherwise budgeted.
Sinking Fund: Established to pay for General Obligation Bond debt and judgement against the city.