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Unlike many organizations, the City of Coppell's fiscal year does not coincide with the calendar year. Instead, the City's fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. The City's annual budget planning process kicks off in February, public meetings begin in May, and the budget is scheduled for adoption in August. Due to the coronavirus and its impacts, the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget process was delayed. The proposed budget was presented to City Council for adoption on September 15, 2020.
"Our goal when it comes to the budget is to balance fiscal responsibility while making smart investments in the future and continuing to deliver the quality services and programs we are known for," said Cayce Lay, Budget Officer for the City of Coppell.
In early February, City departments begin to prepare their operating budget requests and requests for enhancements, which are requests for items or services over $10,000, such as public safety vehicles. During this time, City staff adjust their routine operating budgets, acquire pricing for enhancements, and update their annual goals. In mid-March, all documents and requests are turned in to the Finance Department for review.
In April of each year, the City holds a Town Hall meeting for the public. Staff presents their current projects and major projects planned for the upcoming fiscal year. During the Town Hall, residents are encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback on things that they would like the City to include in the budget.
In late April, the Finance Department and the City Manager's Office meet with all departments to discuss budget requests and clarify projections. After these meetings, the budget begins to take shape.
The directors of all City departments meet in May to review the proposals, prioritize requests and incorporate the goals established by City Council. The Finance Department then develops a rough draft of the budget.
The City Manager's Office and the Finance Department present draft budget information to City Council over the course of three months. During this time, budget workshops and public hearings are held and open to the public. At the end of May, the City begins discussing the different pieces of the budget with the annual meeting and public hearing on the Crime Control and Prevention District fund budget.
During the first workshop, staff presents the draft budgets for the Water and Sewer Fund and Special Revenue Funds. City Council also hears presentations from local service organizations requesting City funding. Any funding assistance to local non-profit organizations approved by the City Council goes toward programs that serve on Coppell residents.
City Council reviews the Debt Service and General Fund budget in the second workshop. The General Fund comprises approximately half of the City's total operating budget, and it includes the bulk of the City's normal operating cost.
Due to legislation implemented by the State, the City published a draft proposed budget on July 10, 2020. The draft proposed budget fulfills only the legal requirements and is significantly more condensed than the long format version that is made available for review in August.
Traditionally, on July 25 of each year, the City receives the certified property values from the appraisal districts, which are used to calculate the property tax bills. Staff adjusts the draft budget to reflect the certified values as soon as they are available. Then the Coppell City Council meets in late July for a budget workshop to conduct a final review of the proposed budget. During this workshop, staff traditionally present the Debt Service and General Fund budget based on the certified values. Council also discusses the proposed tax rate.
In 2020, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the certified property values were not be made available to the City of Coppell until August 20. Because the City did not have access to the certified property values, the proposed budget and tax rate typically discussed at this workshop were based on the certified estimated values.
A new edition of the proposed budget based on the certified estimated values received from the Appraisal Districts is publicized and becomes available for review on August 5. Per City Charter, the proposed budget must be filed with the City Secretary on August 5 of each year.
A public hearing is typically held during the first regularly scheduled Council meeting in August to allow residents to provide feedback on both the tax rate and the proposed budget. City Council may then adopt the tax rate and budget at that same meeting.
As a result of the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, the City of Coppell's Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget calendar was extended. Because the City did not receive the Certified Property Values from the Appraisal Districts until late August, the City Council met for a budget workshop to discuss the proposed budget and tax rate based on certified property values on Thursday, August 20.
The City Council this year held the public hearing on the budget and tax rate on Tuesday, September 8. Then, the revised budget was presented to City Council for approval at the special called meeting on September 15, 2020.