City Budget 101

Due to the severe financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City is projecting an unprecedented $18 million dollar budget deficit for 2021. State law requires the City to have a balanced budget, which means we can only plan to spend money we have available. Because of the size of the projected deficit, difficult budget cuts and reductions in services will need to be made to create a balanced budget for next year. 

This is where you come in: we want to hear from you! Please share your ideas and suggestions about how you think the City should prioritize budget decisions for 2021. Send an email to Everett City Council and the mayor, or provide comment at a city council meeting. Click through these 2021 budget web pages to learn how you can get more involved in the City’s budget process.

The budget process:

The City of Everett creates an annual budget to plan how it will pay for the services it will provide the community, such as public safety, infrastructure, parks and more. Creating the annual budget is nearly a year-long process that involves the mayor, city staff, city council and the community. Working together helps create a city budget that is balanced, responsible and supports core and essential city services for Everett’s residents and businesses.

City budget roles


  1. The mayor and city council set goals and priorities based on community feedback and the City’s revenue and expenditure forecast for future years.
  2. The finance team works with departments to develop revenue estimates for service fees, confirm the number of staff positions that should be included in the budget, and other expense-related information. This is also the time that departments have the opportunity to submit requests to add or revise programs and staff. 
  3. The finance team reviews and analyzes department responses, and completes the revenue forecast and labor budget. The finance team then compiles the results of their analysis into summaries that they present to Administration for approval to include in the mayor’s proposed budget. 
  4. Briefings are provided to the city council to provide an opportunity for the council and public input regarding the budget development progress. 
  5. Throughout this process, the mayor and city council listen to resident feedback and updated projections provided by the finance team, who adjust the draft budget as directed.  
  6. Once the proposed budget is balanced, the mayor presents it to the city council for review and consideration.  
  7. The city council reviews the proposed budget and conducts three public hearings. During these hearings the mayor and council continue to listen to input from the community, and provide feedback to staff. 
  8. The mayor and finance team process feedback from the city council and make any necessary adjustments to the proposed budget. 
  9. The council adopts the finalized budget through three readings of a city ordinance at city council.
  10. The budget is then closely monitored throughout the year to make sure revenue and spending projections stay on track. Monthly financial reports are provided to Administration and City Council to keep them informed of the City’s budget performance. Budget amendments are adopted to revise the budget as necessary for new information that becomes available.  


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