The budget process is the formal way that the City establishes its goals, program priorities, and service levels for the next two years, and identifies the funds needed to achieve them. Essentially, it is a process through which policies are made, programs are articulated, and resources are identified in order to put them into effect.

The City of Oakland is on a two-year budget cycle. Over the next three and a half months, the City will be working on developing the 2013-2015 budget.

Currently, the budget process goes like this:

  1. The Mayor presents her proposed budget at a City Council meeting. This will probably happen in mid-April, but it could be anytime between now and June 29th.
  2. The Mayor, City Administrator and City Council hold public budget forums to teach the community about the budget and get input on the proposed budget. There are expected to be 4 public budget forums this year. Dates and times haven’t been announced yet, but we’ll keep you in the loop when they are.
  3. City Council members (hopefully working closely with community members) can create alternative budget proposals.
  4. Budget negotiations are on-going, and the budget goes to a vote by the end of June. The budget starts to get implemented starting July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2015.

Find out more here

At Oakland Rising, we want to see more transparency, community engagement, and accountability in the budget process. We think that community members (such as you) should be front and center in deciding how the city prioritizes its spending. And in order for that to happen, we need access to education and information about the city budget, and enough time and opportunities to weigh in.

A good place to get started on learning about the City Budget is by looking at the budget cycle that we’re currently in, 2011 – 2013. The mayor put together a great fact sheet about the 2011-2013 budget that explains where our money comes from, where it goes, and how things have changed over time. Check it out here.

We look forward to being in touch with you as activity picks up around the 2013-2015 budget process. In the meantime, if you have questions you can email our Deputy Director, Jessamyn Sabbag.