Chapter 35A.34 RCW

BIENNIAL BUDGETS

Sections

35A.34.010Legislative intent.
35A.34.020Application of chapter.
35A.34.030Definitions.
35A.34.040Biennial budget authorizedLimitations.
35A.34.050Budget estimatesSubmittal.
35A.34.060Budget estimatesClassification and segregation.
35A.34.070Proposed preliminary budget.
35A.34.080Preliminary budget.
35A.34.090Budget messageHearings.
35A.34.100BudgetNotice of hearing.
35A.34.110BudgetHearing.
35A.34.120BudgetAdoption.
35A.34.130BudgetMid-biennial review and modification.
35A.34.140Emergency expendituresNondebatable emergencies.
35A.34.150Emergency expendituresOther emergenciesHearing.
35A.34.160Emergency expendituresWarrantsPayment.
35A.34.170Registered warrantsPayment.
35A.34.180Adjustment of wages, hours and conditions of employment.
35A.34.190FormsAccountingSupervision by state.
35A.34.200FundsLimitations on expendituresTransfers and adjustments.
35A.34.205Administration, oversight, or supervision of utilityReimbursement from utility budget authorized.
35A.34.210Liabilities incurred in excess of budget.
35A.34.220Funds received from sales of bonds and warrantsExpenditures programFederal tax law.
35A.34.230Revenue estimatesAmount to be raised by ad valorem taxes.
35A.34.240FundsQuarterly report of status.
35A.34.250Contingency fundCreation.
35A.34.260Contingency fundWithdrawals.
35A.34.270Unexpended appropriations.
35A.34.280Violations and penalties.


35A.34.010
Legislative intent.

See RCW 35.34.010.



35A.34.020
Application of chapter.

This chapter applies to all code cities which have by ordinance adopted this chapter authorizing the adoption of a fiscal biennium budget.



35A.34.030
Definitions.

Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Clerk" includes the officer performing the functions of a finance or budget director, comptroller, auditor, or by whatever title the officer may be known in any code city.
(2) "Department" includes each office, division, service, system, or institution of the city for which no other statutory or charter provision is made for budgeting and accounting procedures or controls.
(3) "Legislative body" includes the council, commission, or any other group of officials serving as the legislative body of a code city.
(4) "Chief administrative officer" includes the mayor of cities having a mayor-council plan of government, the commissioners in cities having a commission plan of government, the manager, or any other city official designated by the charter or ordinances of such city under the plan of government governing the same, or the budget or finance officer designated by the mayor, manager, or commissioners, to perform the functions, or portions thereof, contemplated by this chapter.
(5) "Fiscal biennium" means the period from January 1 of each odd-numbered year through December 31 of the next succeeding even-numbered year.
(6) "Fund" and "funds" where clearly used to indicate the plural of "fund" means the budgeting or accounting entity authorized to provide a sum of money for specified activities or purposes.
(7) "Funds" where not used to indicate the plural of "fund" means money in hand or available for expenditure or payment of a debt or obligation.
(8) Except as otherwise defined in this chapter, municipal accounting terms used in this chapter have the meaning prescribed by the state auditor pursuant to RCW 43.09.200.

NOTES:

"Fiscal biennium" defined: RCW 1.16.020.



35A.34.040
Biennial budget authorized—Limitations.

All code cities are authorized to establish by ordinance a two-year fiscal biennium budget. The ordinance shall be enacted at least six months prior to commencement of the fiscal biennium and this chapter applies to all code cities which utilize a fiscal biennium budget. Code cities which establish a fiscal biennium budget are authorized to repeal such ordinance and provide for reversion to a fiscal year budget. The ordinance may only be repealed effective as of the conclusion of a fiscal biennium. However, the city shall comply with chapter 35A.33 RCW in developing and adopting the budget for the first fiscal year following repeal of the ordinance.



35A.34.050
Budget estimates—Submittal.

On or before the second Monday of the fourth month prior to the beginning of the city's next fiscal biennium, or at such other time as the city may provide by ordinance or charter, the clerk shall notify in writing the head of each department of a city to file with the clerk within fourteen days of the receipt of such notification, detailed estimates of the probable revenue from sources other than ad valorem taxation and of all expenditures required by the department for the ensuing fiscal biennium. The notice shall be accompanied by the proper forms provided by the clerk, prepared in accordance with the requirements and classification established by the state auditor. The clerk shall prepare the estimates for interest and debt redemption requirements and all other estimates, the preparation of which falls properly within the duties of the clerk's office. The chief administrative officers of the city shall submit to the clerk detailed estimates of all expenditures proposed to be financed from the proceeds of bonds or warrants not yet authorized, together with a statement of the proposed method of financing them. In the absence or disability of the official or person regularly in charge of a department, the duties required by this section shall devolve upon the person next in charge of such department.



35A.34.060
Budget estimates—Classification and segregation.

All estimates of receipts and expenditures for the ensuing fiscal biennium shall be fully detailed in the biennial budget and shall be classified and segregated according to a standard classification of accounts to be adopted and prescribed by the state auditor after consultation with the Washington finance officers association, the association of Washington cities, and the association of Washington city managers.



35A.34.070
Proposed preliminary budget.

On or before the first business day in the third month prior to the beginning of the biennium of a city or at such other time as the city may provide by ordinance or charter, the clerk or other person designated by the charter, by ordinances, or by the chief administrative officer of the city shall submit to the chief administrative officer a proposed preliminary budget which shall set forth the complete financial program of the city for the ensuing fiscal biennium, showing the expenditure program requested by each department and the sources of revenue by which each such program is proposed to be financed.
The revenue section shall set forth in comparative and tabular form for each fund the actual receipts for the last completed fiscal biennium, the estimated receipts for the current fiscal biennium, and the estimated receipts for the ensuing fiscal biennium, which shall include the amount to be raised from ad valorem taxes and unencumbered fund balances estimated to be available at the close of the current fiscal biennium. However, if the city was not utilizing a fiscal biennium budget for the previous three years, it shall set forth its fiscal years' revenues to reflect actual and estimated receipts as if it had previously utilized a biennial budgetary process.
The expenditure section shall set forth in comparative and tabular form for each fund and every department operating within each fund the actual expenditures for the last completed fiscal biennium, the appropriations for the current fiscal biennium, and the estimated expenditures for the ensuing fiscal biennium. However, if the city was not utilizing a fiscal biennium budget for the previous three years, it shall set forth its fiscal years' expenditures to reflect actual and estimated levels as if it had previously utilized a biennial budgetary process. The expenditure section shall further set forth separately the salary or salary range for each office, position, or job classification together with the title or position designation thereof. However, salaries may be set out in total amounts under each department if a detailed schedule of such salaries and positions be attached and made a part of the budget document.



35A.34.080
Preliminary budget.

The chief administrative officer shall prepare the preliminary budget in detail, making any revisions or additions to the reports of the department heads deemed advisable by such chief administrative officer. At least sixty days before the beginning of the city's next fiscal biennium the chief administrative officer shall file it with the clerk as the recommendation of the chief administrative officer for the final budget. The clerk shall provide a sufficient number of copies of such preliminary budget and budget message to meet the reasonable demands of taxpayers therefor and have them available for distribution not later than six weeks before the beginning of the city's next fiscal biennium.



35A.34.090
Budget message—Hearings.

(1) In every city, a budget message prepared by or under the direction of the city's chief administrative officer shall be submitted as a part of the preliminary budget to the city's legislative body at least sixty days before the beginning of the city's next fiscal biennium and shall contain the following:
(a) An explanation of the budget document;
(b) An outline of the recommended financial policies and programs of the city for the ensuing fiscal biennium;
(c) A statement of the relation of the recommended appropriation to such policies and programs;
(d) A statement of the reason for salient changes from the previous biennium in appropriation and revenue items; and
(e) An explanation for any recommended major changes in financial policy.
(2) Prior to the final hearing on the budget, the legislative body or a committee thereof shall schedule hearings on the budget or parts thereof, and may require the presence of department heads to give information regarding estimates and programs.



35A.34.100
Budget—Notice of hearing.

Immediately following the filing of the preliminary budget with the clerk, the clerk shall publish a notice once a week for two consecutive weeks stating that the preliminary budget for the ensuing fiscal biennium has been filed with the clerk, that a copy thereof will be made available to any taxpayer who will call at the clerk's office therefor, that the legislative body of the city will meet on or before the first Monday of the month next preceding the beginning of the ensuing fiscal biennium for the purpose of fixing the final budget, designating the date, time, and place of the legislative budget meeting, and that any taxpayer may appear thereat and be heard for or against any part of the budget. The publication of the notice shall be made in the official newspaper of the city if there is one, otherwise in a newspaper of general circulation in the city. If there is no newspaper of general circulation in the city, then notice may be made by posting in three public places fixed by ordinance as the official places for posting the city's official notices.



35A.34.110
Budget—Hearing.

The legislative body shall meet on the day fixed by RCW 35A.34.100 for the purpose of fixing the final budget of the city at the time and place designated in the notice thereof. Any taxpayer may appear and be heard for or against any part of the budget. The hearing may be continued from day to day but not later than the twenty-fifth day prior to commencement of the city's fiscal biennium.



35A.34.120
Budget—Adoption.

Following conclusion of the hearing, and prior to the beginning of the fiscal biennium, the legislative body shall make such adjustments and changes as it deems necessary or proper and, after determining the allowance in each item, department, classification, and fund, shall by ordinance adopt the budget in its final form and content. Appropriations shall be limited to the total estimated revenues contained therein including the amount to be raised by ad valorem taxes and the unencumbered fund balances estimated to be available at the close of the current fiscal biennium. Such ordinances may adopt the final budget by reference. However, the ordinance adopting the budget shall set forth in summary form the totals of estimated revenues and appropriations for each separate fund and the aggregate totals for all such funds combined.
A complete copy of the final budget as adopted shall be transmitted to the state auditor and to the association of Washington cities.



35A.34.130
Budget—Mid-biennial review and modification.

The legislative authority of a city having adopted the provisions of this chapter shall provide by ordinance for a mid-biennial review and modification of the biennial budget. The ordinance shall provide that such review and modification shall occur no sooner than eight months after the start nor later than conclusion of the first year of the fiscal biennium. The chief administrative officer shall prepare the proposed budget modification and shall provide for publication of notice of hearings consistent with publication of notices for adoption of other city ordinances. City ordinances providing for a mid-biennium review and modification shall establish procedures for distribution of the proposed modification to members of the city legislative authority, procedures for making copies available to the public, and shall provide for public hearings on the proposed budget modification. The budget modification shall be by ordinance approved in the same manner as are other ordinances of the city.
A complete copy of the budget modification as adopted shall be transmitted to the state auditor and to the association of Washington cities.



35A.34.140
Emergency expenditures—Nondebatable emergencies.

Upon the happening of any emergency caused by violence of nature, casualty, riot, insurrection, war, or other unanticipated occurrence requiring the immediate preservation of order or public health, or for the property which has been damaged or destroyed by accident, or for public relief from calamity, or in settlement of approved claims for personal injuries or property damages, or to meet mandatory expenditures required by law enacted since the last budget was adopted, or to cover expenses incident to preparing for or establishing a new form of government authorized or assumed after adoption of the current budget, including any expenses incident to selection of additional or new officials required thereby, or incident to employee recruitment at any time, the city legislative body, upon the adoption of an ordinance, by the vote of one more than the majority of all members of the legislative body, stating the facts constituting the emergency and the estimated amount required to meet it, may make the expenditures therefor without notice or hearing.



35A.34.150
Emergency expenditures—Other emergencies—Hearing.

If a public emergency which could not reasonably have been foreseen at the time of filing the preliminary budget requires the expenditure of money not provided for in the budget, and if it is not one of the emergencies specifically enumerated in RCW 35A.34.140, the city legislative body before allowing any expenditure therefor shall adopt an ordinance stating the facts constituting the emergency and the estimated amount required to meet it and declaring that an emergency exists.
The ordinance shall not be voted on until five days have elapsed after its introduction, and for passage shall require the vote of one more than the majority of all members of the legislative body of the city.
Any taxpayer may appear at the meeting at which the emergency ordinance is to be voted on and be heard for or against the adoption thereof.



35A.34.160
Emergency expenditures—Warrants—Payment.

All expenditures for emergency purposes as provided in this chapter shall be paid by warrants from any available money in the fund properly chargeable with such expenditures. If, at any time, there is insufficient money on hand in a fund with which to pay such warrants as presented, the warrants shall be registered, bear interest, and be called in the same manner as other registered warrants as prescribed in RCW 35A.21.110.



35A.34.170
Registered warrants—Payment.

In adopting the final budget for any fiscal biennium, the legislative body shall appropriate from estimated revenue sources available, a sufficient amount to pay the principal and interest on all outstanding registered warrants issued since the adoption of the last preceding budget except those issued and identified as revenue warrants and except those for which an appropriation previously has been made. However, no portion of the revenues which are restricted in use by law may be appropriated for the redemption of warrants issued against a utility or other special purpose fund of a self-supporting nature. In addition, all or any portion of the city's outstanding registered warrants may be funded into bonds in any manner authorized by law.



35A.34.180
Adjustment of wages, hours and conditions of employment.

Notwithstanding the appropriations for any salary or salary range of any employee or employees adopted in a final budget, the legislative body of any city may, by ordinance, change the wages, hours, and conditions of employment of any or all of its appointive employees if sufficient funds are available for appropriation to such purposes.



35A.34.190
Forms—Accounting—Supervision by state.

The state auditor is empowered to make and install the forms and classifications required by this chapter to define what expenditures are chargeable to each budget class and to establish the accounting and cost systems necessary to secure accurate budget information.



35A.34.200
Funds—Limitations on expenditures—Transfers and adjustments.

(1) The expenditures as classified and itemized in the final budget shall constitute the city's appropriations for the ensuing fiscal biennium. Unless otherwise ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction, and subject to further limitations imposed by ordinance of the city, the expenditure of city funds or the incurring of current liabilities on behalf of the city shall be limited to the following:
(a) The total amount appropriated for each fund in the budget for the current fiscal biennium, without regard to the individual items contained therein, except that this limitation does not apply to wage adjustments authorized by RCW 35A.34.180;
(b) The unexpended appropriation balances of a preceding budget which may be carried forward from prior fiscal periods pursuant to RCW 35A.34.270;
(c) Funds received from the sale of bonds or warrants which have been duly authorized according to law;
(d) Funds received in excess of estimated revenues during the current fiscal biennium, when authorized by an ordinance amending the original budget; and
(e) Expenditures authorized by budget modification as provided by RCW 35A.34.130 and those required for emergencies, as authorized by RCW 35A.34.140 and 35A.34.150.
(2) Transfers between individual appropriations within any one fund may be made during the current fiscal biennium by order of the city's chief administrative officer subject to such regulations, if any, as may be imposed by the city legislative body. Notwithstanding the provisions of RCW 43.09.210 or of any statute to the contrary, transfers, as authorized in this section, may be made within the same fund regardless of the various offices, departments, or divisions of the city which may be affected.
(3) The city legislative body, upon a finding that it is to the best interests of the city to decrease, revoke, or recall all or any portion of the total appropriations provided for any one fund, may, by ordinance, approved by the vote of one more than the majority of all members thereof, stating the facts and findings for doing so, decrease, revoke, or recall all or any portion of an unexpended fund balance, and by said ordinance, or a subsequent ordinance adopted by a like majority, the moneys thus released may be reappropriated for another purpose or purposes, without limitation to department, division, or fund, unless the use of such moneys is otherwise restricted by law, charter, or ordinance.



35A.34.205
Administration, oversight, or supervision of utility—Reimbursement from utility budget authorized.

Whenever any code city apportions a percentage of the city manager's, administrator's, or supervisor's time, or the time of other management or general government staff, for administration, oversight, or supervision of a utility operated by the city, or to provide services to the utility, the utility budget may identify such services and budget for reimbursement of the city's current expense fund for the value of such services.



35A.34.210
Liabilities incurred in excess of budget.

Liabilities incurred by any officer or employee of the city in excess of any budget appropriations shall not be a liability of the city. The clerk shall issue no warrant and the city legislative body or other authorized person shall approve no claim for an expenditure in excess of the total amount appropriated for any individual fund, except upon an order of a court of competent jurisdiction or for emergencies as provided in this chapter.



35A.34.220
Funds received from sales of bonds and warrants—Expenditures program—Federal tax law.

Moneys received from the sale of bonds or warrants must be used for no other purpose than that for which they were issued. If any unexpended fund balance remains from the proceeds realized from the bonds or warrants after the accomplishment of the purpose for which they were issued, it must be used for the payment of principal of or interest on such indebtedness consistent with applicable provisions of federal tax law. Where a budget contains an expenditure program to be partially or wholly financed from a bond issue to be authorized thereafter, expenditures of amounts anticipated to be reimbursed from the proceeds of the issuance and sale of such bonds must be made or incurred consistent with any applicable federal tax law requirements.

NOTES:

Application to previously issued bonds2011 c 210: See note following RCW 39.46.040.



35A.34.230
Revenue estimates—Amount to be raised by ad valorem taxes.

At a time fixed by the city's ordinance or city charter, not later than the first Monday in October of the second year of each fiscal biennium, the chief administrative officer shall provide the city's legislative body with current information on estimates of revenues from all sources as adopted in the budget for the current biennium, together with estimates submitted by the clerk under RCW 35A.34.070. The city's legislative body and the city's administrative officer or the officer's designated representative shall consider the city's total anticipated financial requirements for the ensuing fiscal biennium, and the legislative body shall determine and fix by ordinance the amount to be raised the first year of the biennium by ad valorem taxes. The legislative body shall review such information as is provided by the chief administrative officer and shall adopt an ordinance establishing the amount to be raised by ad valorem taxes during the second year of the biennium. Upon adoption of the ordinance fixing the amount of ad valorem taxes to be levied, the clerk shall certify the same to the county legislative authority as required by RCW 84.52.020.



35A.34.240
Funds—Quarterly report of status.

At such intervals as may be required by city charter or city ordinance, however, being not less than quarterly, the clerk shall submit to the city's legislative body and chief administrative officer a report showing the expenditures and liabilities against each separate budget appropriation incurred during the preceding reporting period and like information for the whole of the current fiscal biennium to the first day of the current reporting period together with the unexpended balance of each appropriation. The report shall also show the receipts from all sources.



35A.34.250
Contingency fund—Creation.

Every city may create and maintain a contingency fund to provide moneys with which to meet any municipal expense, the necessity or extent of which could not have been foreseen or reasonably evaluated at the time of adopting the annual budget, or from which to provide moneys for those emergencies described in RCW 35A.34.140 and 35A.34.150. Such fund may be supported by a budget appropriation from any tax or other revenue source not restricted in use by law, or also may be supported by a transfer from other unexpended or decreased funds made available by ordinance as set forth in RCW 35A.34.200. However, the total amount accumulated in such fund at any time shall not exceed the equivalent of thirty-seven and one-half cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation of property within the city at such time. Any moneys in the emergency fund at the end of the fiscal biennium shall not lapse except upon reappropriation by the council to another fund in the adoption of a subsequent budget.



35A.34.260
Contingency fund—Withdrawals.

No money shall be withdrawn from the contingency fund except by transfer to the appropriate operating fund authorized by a resolution or ordinance of the legislative body of the city, adopted by a majority vote of the entire legislative body, clearly stating the facts constituting the reason for the withdrawal or the emergency as the case may be, specifying the fund to which the withdrawn money shall be transferred.



35A.34.270
Unexpended appropriations.

All appropriations in any current operating fund shall lapse at the end of each fiscal biennium. However, this shall not prevent payments in the following biennium upon uncompleted programs or improvements in progress or on orders subsequently filled or claims subsequently billed for the purchase of material, equipment, and supplies or for personal or contractual services not completed or furnished by the end of the fiscal biennium, all of which have been properly budgeted and contracted for prior to the close of such fiscal biennium, but furnished or completed in due course thereafter.
All appropriations in a special fund authorized by ordinance or by state law to be used only for the purpose or purposes therein specified, including any cumulative reserve funds lawfully established in specific or general terms for any municipal purpose or purposes, or a contingency fund as authorized by RCW 35A.34.250, shall not lapse, but shall be carried forward from biennium to biennium until fully expended or the purpose has been accomplished or abandoned, without necessity of reappropriation.
The accounts for budgetary control for each fiscal biennium shall be kept open for twenty days after the close of such fiscal biennium for the purpose of paying and recording claims for indebtedness incurred during such fiscal biennium; any claim presented after the twentieth day following the close of the fiscal biennium shall be paid from appropriations lawfully provided for the ensuing period, including those made available by provisions of this section, and shall be recorded in the accounts for the ensuing fiscal biennium.



35A.34.280
Violations and penalties.

Upon the conviction of any city official, department head, or other city employee of knowingly failing, or refusing, without just cause, to perform any duty imposed upon such officer or employee by this chapter, or city charter or city ordinance, in connection with the giving of notice, the preparing and filing of estimates of revenues or expenditures or other information required for preparing a budget report in the time and manner required, or of knowingly making expenditures in excess of budget appropriations, the official or employee shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars for each separate violation.