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Public Budget Cycle 1

Public Budget Cycle


Public Budget Cycle 2

Public Budget Cycle
A budget is a financial guide for the business or governmental agency. Without a budget
the government agency does not know what revenues are available as well as will not have the
necessary plan for allocating money and forecasting expenditures. Government budgeting
applies the public budget cycle and consists of four stages. These stages include preparation and
submission, approval, execution, audit and evaluation. Many businesses operate applying the
public budget cycle. The public budget cycle allows the government agency to remain
transparent when making financial decisions.
Every government agency has a responsibility to taxpayers to create a public budget and
to adhere to that budget. A police agency is no different. Budgets are established in order to
regulate how money is spent is the police department. A city council will establish the budget for
the police station if the department is small but larger police departments have police
administration to establish the budget. Budgets are estimates so it is essential to develop the
proper information to ensure the budget properly addresses all of the needs of the policing
Applying the budget cycle to a police department will ensure the budgeting process
progresses in stages as plans are made, funds are allocated and new information leads to
revisions (Sessum, 2013). In a public budget redundancy is built in to ensure accountability in
the police department. In order to ensure this is this case the government agency, in this case a
police agency, will apply the budget cycle. The budget cycle is a yearlong effort that makes sure
the budget effort is transparent. The first phase in the budget cycle is preparation.

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Preparation and Submission
Preparation and submission is the beginning of the budget phase. In this stage
information is gathered and the budget is proposed. Creating a budget for a police station will be
extensive the police department needs personnel and equipment to function plus money set aside
to assist in community programs and services in society. The budget will start will an established
amount. For example a smaller police department might have a one million dollar yearly budget.
From this budget the police department will have to determine the salaries of every employee
plus add in any potential raises in salary any personnel may receive personnel are constantly
moving up in a police station and will receive higher pay and better benefits.
The budget will have to consider the equipment that will be needed by the police
agencies and especially police officers in the field including the updating of equipment or the
replacement of outdated or broken equipment (Orrick, 2012). These are only a few
considerations of the police budget. In order to estimate the cost the person given the authority to
create the budget within the law enforcement agency will need to conduct intensive research.
This will include surveying previous budgets, past salaries and salary increases, etc. The more
information the police administration has the better the budget can represent the true needs of the
policing agency.
In a government agency the budget preparation stage begins in April. The budget will be
created following fiscal policy guidelines. This general budget will be used to craft the budget
that will be submitted to the deciding agency. For example the budget is created by the police
administration and then is passed to the city council for approval but first the different
department in the policing agency will turn in their proposed budget. This will include there
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short term and long term operating budget. Once the budgets are gathered from each department
the police administrator will take information and create the total budget for the department.
The preparation process continues throughout the summer with each department
presenting requests that will either be added or rejected from the budget. The process of creating
the budget will continue throughout the year until the budget preparer has all of the necessary
information to present to the city council. All budget requests go to the police administrator but
they will not be approved until they go in front of the governing body. In the case of the medium
to larger police department this governing body is the city council.
Once the budget is created by the budget preparer it will give the budget to the legislative
body for approval. The city council will have a separate financial committee who is responsible
for reviewing the budget and making any necessary recommendations. If the budget is higher
than expected or there are aspect that must be addressed these aspects will need to be addressed
through an approval process. These budget considerations will be considered and voted upon by
the city council. Because a police station is a government agency each step of the budget process
must follow a legislative process. The review committee will determine if the budget item is
necessary and line up with the budget needs as well as the available revenue.
Many police agencies are suffering huge budget deficits due to the economy, these
budget cuts make it even more important to ensure the budget of the police department covers
the needs of the agency but stay within the budget confines that have been established. If a state
government is projecting a major decline in revenues due to a weakening of the economy,
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closing the gap between low revenues and higher expenditures will be a major concern (Lee,
2008). The council will have to apply a more rigid approval process.
Once the different aspects of the budget have been reviewed by the city council the
budget will be voted on. If the budget is not approved it will be sent back to the preparer for
further consideration and for changes. Many budgets will not meet the first round approval of the
legislative body. In most cases only some lines in the budget will be sent back for changes while
other areas will be approved. The final budget will be determined by the governing agency which
in the case would be the city council.
Once a budget is finally all approved it has to be executed by the beginning of the
financial year which is October 1
for a federal policing agency and June 1
for a state or local
policing agency. The apportionment process is substantively important in that program
adjustments must be made to bring planned spending into balance with available revenue ().
What this means is because not all budget request will be approved then the police
administration will have to adapt to the new budget requirements. The city council will provide a
final budget outlining where revenues will be expended.
Part of the execution is impoundment. What this means is the city council may decide to
impound some of the funds to be distributed later. This is not likely to happen in the event of the
police agency but in bigger government agencies. Once the budget is determined and received by
the police administration it will be allotted. There are different departments in the police
department that needs funs budgeted to function. Based on the approved budget the allotment
process will depends on the fund to be expended. Control often may be extensive and detailed,
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requiring approval by the department budget office for any shift in available funds from one item
to another, such as from travel to wages (Lee, 2008). When expenditures are requested the
department requesting the funds may be subjected to a pre-audit process. This is to make sure
that the budget request is feasible and to make sure the expenditure is necessary.
Audit and Evaluation
The last phase of the budget cycle is the audit and evaluation. Because public agencies
must always remain transparent they will be subject to audits. The audit is designed to review the
budget and to ensure the expenditures are within the budget scope. The audit will ensure the
agency is being honest and ethical in their distribution of the funds. . In accord with this goal,
accounting procedures are prescribed and auditors check the books maintained by agency
personnel (Lee, 2008). It is especially important to ensure the police agency is being transparent
in their actions. The dishonest police agency will create distrust in the public resulting in a
failure to be effective. It is important for the funds appropriated on the budget are expended
properly and appropriately.
The evaluation process reviews actual budget process employed by the policing agency to
determine its effectiveness to meet the needs of the agency. In the evaluation process the money
that is spent is reviewed and the availability of the funds to appropriately meet the needs of the
agency. The evaluation process also looks to see if the budget was effective in addressing all
areas of the policing agency and to ensure there was no unnecessary spending or waste. Once the
last phase of the budget cycle ends the whole process will begin again with the budget preparer
making preparations for the next years budget.

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Lee, P. (2008). Chapter Three: Budget Cycles. Jones and Bartlett Publishing, New York, NY
Orrick, D. (2012). Budgeting in Small Police Agencies. Best Practice Guide. International
Association of Chiefs of Police. Pg 2-11
Sessum, G. (2013). What is a budget cycle? Retrieved October 18, 2014 from