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Frequently asked questions

What is the County’s Fiscal Year?

St. Louis County operates on a January 1 – December 31 fiscal year.

How does St. Louis County prepare its budget each year?

The County’s budget is prepared following the same general cycle each year. In April and May, the Budget Office (Department of Administration) and departments update revenue estimates for the current year and the next five years. In June, the County Executive reviews the revenue estimates and financial plan and sets budget policies for the upcoming year. Departments are then given instructions about the parameters and requirements for their budget requests. In August, departments submit their budget requests which are analyzed by the Budget Office and reviewed by the County Executive and staff. Meetings are held with departments to review their budget request and to discuss any issues that arise. In September and October, the County Executive makes final decisions about funding levels, additions to the budget, and reductions to the budget, and prepares the Recommended Budget documents which are delivered to the County Council on November 1st. During November and December, the County Council takes public comment, reviews the budget in the Committee of the Whole, and takes action on budget legislation. The budget is typically passed by Council in mid-December in advance of the January 1 beginning of the fiscal year.

What is a fund?

A fund is an accounting device established to control the receipt and disbursement of income from sources set aside to support specific activities or attain certain objectives. St. Louis County has 23 funds that are included in the annual budget submitted to the County Council. Each fund has its own revenue source(s) and allowable use(s) of those revenues. The use of money in a fund is restricted by ordinance, grant requirements, state law, etc. The information presented in this tool is limited to the 19 funds of the operating budget which finance the cost of providing County services each year. Funds used for highway capital projects and pass-through to Metro for public mass transit services are not included in this presentation.

In general, money from one fund cannot be used to support the purposes of another fund. For example, money in the Children’s Service Fund cannot be used for operations of the Department of Administration.

What happens to the extra money that is not spent for a year in a fund?

Any appropriations that are not utilized in a fund is “returned” to the balance of the fund, and is available for use in the next fiscal year.

Why is no money being reported as spent for the current year and future budget year?

Expenditure information for the current year will not be finalized until next January. Expenditure information for the future budget year will not be available until January of the following year. This information will be added to this site when available.