Citizen Budget Engagement

With the FY 2016 budget cycle underway, the City of Des Moines wants to hear your ideas on priorities, programs, improvements, and organizational processes. Your ideas can be submitted by clicking on the Give Us Your Ideas icon. We appreciate your input!

Timeline & News

Public meetings, City Council meetings & workshops, presentations, ...

What is the Budget?

Concepts and facts useful in understanding the budget process.

Give us your ideas!

Let us know your thoughts on addressing the budget challenge.

Current Budget

Expenditures by Department & Expenditures by Fund

Timeline & News

FY 2016 Recommended Budget Document Release

  • February 2015
  • Workshop Discussions
  • Available in print and online

Hearing Notices for Budget and FY 2016 General Obligation Debt 

  • February 2015
  • Workshop Discussions
  • Council Action 

FY 2016 Budget Hearing and Approval 

  • March 2016
  • Workshop Discussions 
  • Council Action

FY 2016 Budget State Certification 

  • March 15, 2015
  • 11:59 PM
  • State offices

The Budget Process

By law, the annual budget is required to be adopted on or before March 15 of each year. The adopted budget provides for program operations for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following year. In practice, the Des Moines City Council typically adopts the budget at the end of February or at their first meeting in March each year. Budget amendments must be prepared and adopted in the same manner as the original budget.

While the City is formulating the annual operating budget, a parallel process is taking place to develop a capital improvements program. Two separate, but interrelated documents are prepared during the budget process. Each communicates to stakeholders how the City intends to allocate resources to meet resident’s needs. The first document, the Operating Budget, focuses on the annual departmental operations and includes summary information on the five-year capital improvement program. The document provides fiscal and program information for changes to the current fiscal year budget (amending) and projections for the following fiscal year budget (recommending). The second companion document, the Capital Improvement Program (CIP), focuses on projects that involve major one-time expenditures related to the city's infrastructure and economic development efforts. The local funding source is generally bonds. The CIP document provides project detail for changes to the current fiscal year, the proposed budget for the following year, and projections for the following five years.

Public input is provided at various Council meetings throughout the budget process and during the budget workshops from August through February. Additional efforts are underway to encourage public engagement with a series of town hall forums that will include topics on public safety, community enrichment, and infrastructure and development.

FY 2016 Recommended City of Des Moines Budget - $606,377,764

Defined here, the budget is the expenditure authorization or appropriation authority, by City Council, of public funds for a specific purpose. The total $606 million budget can be better understood as a $512 million operating budget and a $94 million capital budget. The table below provides an operating budget breakdown by fund. The city uses six different fund types which allows for a segregation of resources to be used for specific actions.

City of Des Moines Budget
FY2014 Actual FY2015 Adopted FY2015 Amended FY2016 Recommended FY 2016 % Total
General Fund $148,107,135 $153,216,191 $153,571,090 $155,860,197 26%
Enterprise Funds 124,446,284 107,706,073 112,386,354 109,046,748 18%
Special Revenue Funds 145,182,913 106,823,333 109,992,110 110,778,338 18%
Debt Service 68,809,627 43,423,696 116,469,971 92,957,987 15%
Internal Service Funds 35,755,756 39,974,766 42,693,901 42,843,897 7%
Reserved General Fund 964,981 319,300 515,500 230,500 <1%
Other Funds 0 27,400 27,400 27,400 <1%
Total Operating Budget $523,266,696 $451,490,759 $535,650,326 $511,745,067
Capital Budget 77,903,132 88,093,337 86,887,136 94,632,697 16%
Total Budget $601,169,828 $539,584,096 $622,537,462 $606,377,764 100%

Operating Budget 

The $511 million operating budget includes funding for the day to day operations of enterprise operations (golf courses, housing services, parking system, sanitary sewers, solid waste collection, and storm sewer); the general fund (police and fire departments, parks and recreation, libraries, code inspections,general administration, and other activities); special revenue funds (such as Road Use Tax and various federal and state grant programs); debt service on general obligation debt; internal service operations that serve all the city departments; and expendable trust funds.

In the chart below, some operating budgets represent more than what many understand as daily operations. Examples include City Manager, Finance and Human Resources budgets. The City Manager Special Revenue budget accounts for economic development loans and projects. The Internal Service fund budget fund is related to the Equipment Maintenance Center. The Finance budget includes debt service and TIF payments for capital projects, Road Use Tax transfers, employee payroll taxes, and payments to the Des Moines Convention and Visitor's Bureaus and Bravo Greater Des Moines shown in Special Revenue, General and Other funds. Human Resources Special Revenue and Internal Service budgets are for employee health insurance and other benefits and tax transfers.

Capital Budget

The $94 million capital budget includes funding for major construction or acquisition projects financed in whole or part through the issuance of bonds, federal and state funds, contributions, and user fees. A separate Capital Improvement Program (CIP) document details all the projects and funding sources. Below are the categories utilized in the 6-year Capital Improvement Program -- which the City updates and publishes annually and can also be found on the City website.

Current Budget
Current Recommended Budget

Fiscal Year 2016 Recommended Operating Budget

Complete Budget Document