Citizen Budget Engagement

With the FY 2017 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

FY2017 Sanitary and Stormwater Enterprise and SSMID Budget Workshop

  • December 7, 2015
  • Preliminary overview of the sanitary and stormwater enterprise funds and Self-Supported Municipal Improvement Districts (SSMID)

FY2017 General Operating Budget Workshop

  • December 21, 2015
  • Preliminary overview of operating budget  

Capital Improvement Program and Debt Service Budget Workshop

  • January 11, 2016
  • Preliminary overview of projects in the Capital Improvement Plan and debt service fund

FY2017 Parking and Housing Enterprise Funds Budget Workshop

  • January 25, 2016
  • Overview of the parking and Housing Services enterprise funds

Release of FY2016 Amended and FY2017 Recommended Budget Documents

  • January 25, 2016
  • Operating and Capital Budgets
  • Available on-line and limited quantity print copies

Budget Townhall Meeting 

  • January 28, 2016
  • Des Moines Central Library
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Auditor Report Budget Workshop

  • February 2016
  • Independent audit report on City FY2015 financials

Adoption of the FY2016 Amended and FY2017 Recommended Budgets

  • February 22, 2016
  • State deadline for submittal is March 15th

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.

FY2017 Adopted City of Des Moines Budget - $612,421,165

Defined here, the budget is the expenditure authorization or appropriation authority, by City Council, of public funds for a specific purpose. The total $612 million budget can be better understood as a $520 million operating budget and a $92 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
% Total
General Fund $150,772,063 $157,004,711 $155,448,503 $158,973,765 26%
Special Revenue Funds 105,738,661 110,778,338 113,004,933 114,143,732 19%
Enterprise Funds 93,057,030 109,046,748 117,701,093 111,758,583 18%
Debt Service 104,268,702 92,957,987 108,308,506 90,053,941 15%
Internal Service Funds 39,824,556 42,843,897 42,898,540 44,118,079 7%
Reserved General Fund 618,357 230,500 897,700 725,992 <1%
Other Funds 0 27,400 27,400 27,400 <1%
Total Operating Budget $494,279,369 $512,889,581 $538,286,675 $519,801,492 85%
Capital Budget 64,306,071 94,632,697 93,720,104 92,619,673 15%
Total Budget $558,585,440 $607,522,278 $632,006,779 $612,421,165 100%

Operating Budget 

The $520 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 $92 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 Adopted Budget

Fiscal Year 2017 Adopted Budgets

Operating Budget Document