Citizen Budget Engagement

With work underway on the FY 2015 and FY 2016 two year budget cycle, the City of Des Moines wants to hear your ideas on priorities, programs, franchise fees, and improvements that you feel could be made. Ideas can be submitted online or at one of our upcoming townhall meetings.

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 2015 Budget State Certification 

  • March 14, 2014
  • 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 2015 City of Des Moines Budget - $538,590,294

Defined here, the budget is the expenditure authorization or appropriation authority, by City Council, of public funds for a specific purpose. The total $538 million budget can be better understood as a $450 million operating budget and a $88 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
FY2013 Actual FY2014 Adopted FY2014 Amended FY2015 Adopted FY2015 % Total
Enterprise Funds $111,704,603 $107,813,724 $103,200,199 $107,706,072 20%
General Fund 148,742,200 149,265,331 151,487,062 153,216,192 28%
Special Revenue Funds 108,112,028 108,655,301 154,313,594 105,829,532 20%
Debt Service 67,134,436 45,029,701 52,410,528 43,423,696 8%
Internal Service Funds 36,962,147 41,672,539 39,153,522 39,974,766 7%
Reserved General Fund 1,829,427 384,700 337,902 319,300 <1%
Other Funds 0 27,400 27,400 27,400 <1%
Total Operating Budget $474,484,841 $452,848,696 $500,932,606 $450,496,957
Capital Budget 66,729,932 82,014,258 96,802,018 88,093,337 16%
Total Budget $541,214,773 $534,862,954 $597,734,624 $538,590,294 100%

Operating Budget

The $450 million operating budget includes funding for the day to day operations of the seven enterprise operations (airport, 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, and 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.

Capital Budget

The $88 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 2015 Recommended Operating Budget

Complete Budget Document