King County shifts to biennial budgeting

March 22, 2011

By Staff

Like the state and some municipal governments, the King County Council has taken a step to shift the county to a biennial, or two-year, budgeting process.

Officials said the shift to biennial budgeting extends the planning period for county departments to further examine and define budgets.

The longer timeframe also allows the executive and council to improve program evaluation, enhance performance management and encapsulate cost-savings during the budget process.

The council unanimously adopted legislation to set the schedule for county agencies to transition to a biennial budgeting process. The Department of Development and Environmental Services, the county permitting agency, is on track to join the Department of Transportation in delivering a biennial budget for the 2012-13 cycle.

Voters approved a county charter amendment in 2003 to allow leaders to shift all county departments to biennial budgeting. The council adopted the timeline for adoption Feb. 28.

Leaders expect all nongeneral fund budgets to transition to biennial budgeting for 2013, and all county agencies should deliver biennial budgets for the 2015 King County budget. The spending plan should be adopted in fall 2014.

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