With five of eight alders new to the city budget process, an entirely new Finance committee and a new mayor, city staff started the budget process earlier than normal.
Department heads presented capital and operating requests in August and September, more than a month earlier than in many past years, to help Finance committee members sort out priorities, which they began doing after the final presentations Sept. 24. Staff then began making cuts and other adjustments based on their feedback.
Many numbers are not available from the state until mid-October, and the committee was unable to discuss the final proposal until Oct. 22, the same time as last year.
Traditionally, the Common Council has gotten its first look at the budget the third Monday of November and voted on it the fourth Monday. But with Thanksgiving on the early side this year and city staff installing new finance software the last week of the month, everything is shifting a week earlier, with the city calling a special meeting on the third Monday, Nov. 19.
That was the case last year, as well.