Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image
FAQ image Local Budget Law FAQ
Select the plus (+) to open the subject, then click questions to view answers:


 Introduction to Local Budget Law


  • Are all local governments subject to Local Budget Law?

  • What is a budget?

  • What is Local Budget Law?

  • What is the Local Budget Law process?

  • When does a fiscal year or biennium start and end?

 The budget officer


  • What are the responsibilities of the budget officer?

  • Who can serve as the budget officer?

 Budgetary funds


  • What is a budget fund?

  • What is a capital project fund?

  • What is a contingency fund?

  • What is a debt service fund?

  • What is a general fund?

  • What is a reserve fund?

  • What is a special revenue fund?

  • What is a trust and agency fund?

  • What is an enterprise fund?

 Preparing the proposed budget


  • Are there forms for preparing a budget?

  • What are the detail sheets for the various types of funds?

  • Where do I find the actual data?

  • Where do I find the data for "Adopted Budget This Year"?

  • Why are there three columns for the budget for the coming year?

  • Why must a budget show amounts for multiple years?

 Budget resources


  • Do fund expenditures and resources always have to balance?

  • How do we budget for grants that we haven't received yet?

  • What are some common fund resources?

 Estimating the amount of taxes to be received


  • Do we have to levy our full permanent rate?

  • How do I determine the estimated assessed value of the property in my local government's territory in the coming year?

  • How do I estimate Measure 5 compression loss?

  • How do I estimate the taxes for our bonded debt levy?

  • How much revenue will we receive from taxes under our permanent rate limit?

  • If our permanent rate isn't enough to meet our needs, can we change it?

  • The budget detail sheets have a line for "taxes necessary to balance" or "taxes estimated to be received." Where does that number come from?

  • We want to ask our voters for local option taxing authority. Where can we get help writing the ballot measure?

  • What are losses from discounts and uncollectables?

  • What is my local government's "permanent rate limit?"

  • What is the Measure 5 limit?

 Budget requirements


  • How do I know what expenditures and other requirements to budget for?

  • Is it possible to start the fiscal year "in the hole?" Should I budget a negative amount because we spent more in the previous year then we should have?

  • Is there a limit to the amount of money that can be budgeted in the contingency line item?

  • What are the 'limited circumstances' in which an unappropriated ending fund balance can be spent?

 The budget committee


  • As a budget committee member, I think the budget officer is estimating too much for some expenditures, and we are wasting taxpayer money. Should I say something?

  • Can the budget committee add or delete programs or services?

  • Can the budget committee determine how much an employee is paid?

  • Can the budget committee meet and discuss the budget before the first meeting for which public notice is published?

  • Can the mayor's wife be appointed to the budget committee?

  • Can we "post" the notice of the first budget committee meeting in a public place or on our website?

  • Does the budget committee have any other duties?

  • How long do members serve?

  • How many meetings are required?

  • Is the mayor a voting member of the budget committee?

  • Should we approve the property taxes as a rate or as an amount?

  • What about people who volunteer for other committees or commissions of the local government?

  • What are the budget committee's main functions?

  • What are the rules about budget committee meetings?

  • What can the budget committee not discuss before the first meeting?

  • What happens after the budget committee agrees on the budget?

  • What happens at the first budget committee meeting?

  • What if no one will serve on the budget committee?

  • What if we can't hand-deliver or mail notice to each street address because our post office uses only PO boxes?

  • What if we have a quorum, but cannot get a majority of the members of the budget committee to approve the budget?

  • What is a quorum? What happens if we don't have a quorum at a budget committee meeting?

  • What is the advantage of approving taxes as a rate versus an amount?

  • What is the budget committee?

  • What is the budget message?

  • What other information is available to the budget committee?

  • What sort of notice is required for the first meeting?

  • What sorts of things can the budget committee discuss before the first meeting for which notice is published?

  • When can the budget officer release the proposed budget to the budget committee members?

  • Who can be appointed to the budget committee?

  • Who prepares the budget message? Who reads it?

 Publishing the hearing notice and budget summary


  • After the budget committee has approved the budget, what is the next step?

  • Are there forms for publishing the notice of the budget hearing?

  • As part of the Notice of Budget Hearing, do we have to publish a summary of the general fund?

  • Can we "post" the notice of the budget hearing?

  • Can we hold the budget hearing the same night that the budget committee holds its first meeting?

  • I published my budget hearing notice (LB-1) showing the hearing as being on a certain day. Then we had to postpone the hearing for a week. What do I do now?

  • We are subject to the jurisdiction of the Multnomah County Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission. What notice do we have to publish?

  • What if we publish the budget summary and then discover an error in the numbers?

 The governing body


  • Are there certain categories of appropriations that must be used?

  • At the budget hearing and afterward, what action does the governing body take?

  • Can the governing body change the budget approved by the budget committee in ways that the budget committee does not approve?

  • Can the governing body change the budget that was approved by the budget committee?

  • If the governing body increases expenditures by more than 10 percent do we have to re-publish the entire budget or just those funds that were changed?

  • In which category is our "rainy day fund" appropriated?

  • We have always budgeted for "miscellaneous expenses" that cannot be specifically identified at the time we are preparing our budget. What appropriation category are they in?

  • What about reserves for future expenditure and unappropriated ending fund balance? How are they appropriated?

  • What are appropriations?

  • What if we can't adopt our budget before June 30?

  • What is meant by "categorizing the tax?"

 Certifying your tax levy to the county assessor


  • What documents do I have to file with the county and state?

 Changing the budget during the fiscal year


  • Are there situations in which we don't have to do a supplemental budget in order to change the adopted budget?

  • Can we loan money from one fund to another?

  • Can we use the money we have budgeted as unappropriated ending fund balance for something else?

  • The change we want to make is less than 10 percent of the adopted amount. That means we don't have to do a supplemental budget, right?

  • We adopted one supplemental budget and now we need another. When we determine the process to use for the second supplemental budget, is it 10 percent of the budget as it is now, after the first supplemental budget, or 10 percent of the original budget?

  • We have money budgeted that we want to use in a different way. How do we make that money available where it is needed?

  • We usually just do a supplemental budget near the end of the year to cover any changes we've made to the budget. Is this wrong?

  • What does a supplemental budget look like?

  • What is a supplemental budget?

  • What is the process for adopting a supplemental budget?

  • What rate of interest do we charge ourselves on an interfund loan?

  • When do we have to pay back an interfund loan?

  • When we publish notice of a supplemental budget, do we need to publish the entire budget?

 Consequences of noncompliance with Local Budget Law


  • If we do not comply with every little detail of Local Budget Law, will the Budget Police come to arrest us?

  • What if I, as a budget officer or a member of the governing body, don't agree with the Oregon Department of Revenue on the interpretation of Local Budget Law?

Links to more information:
We post our training seminar schedule on our website every January.
Contact us with questions: 
Oregon Department of Revenue
Finance and Taxation
PO Box 14380
Salem OR 97309-5075
Phone: 503-945-8293 | Fax: 503-945-8737