Citizen Budget Engagement

With the FY 2020 budget cycle underway, the City of Des Moines wants to hear your ideas on priorities, programs, improvements, and organizational processes. Your ideas can be submitted by clicking on the Give Us Your Ideas icon. We appreciate your input!

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

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 residents' 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.

FY2020 Adopted City of Des Moines Budget: $790,361,159

Defined here, the budget is the expenditure authorization or appropriation authority, by City Council, of public funds for a specific purpose. The total $790 million budget can be better understood as a $615 million operating budget and a $175 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.

Operating Budget Document

City of Des Moines Budget
FY2020 Adopted FY2020
% Total
General Fund $168,923,239 $172,883,319 $198,845,760 $181,836,916 23%
Special Revenue Funds 138,400,973 129,541,474 135,662,977 136,299,765 17%
Enterprise Funds 127,285,380 136,233,830 164,712,497 136,144,247 17%
Debt Service 167,834,484 95,326,775 92,555,836 106,365,250 13%
Internal Service Funds 45,099,445 49,955,420 56,501,091 54,668,964 7%
Reserved General Fund 456,876 227,594 1,572,574 128,700 <1%
Other Funds 0 27,400 27,400 27,400 <1%
Total Operating Budget $648,000,397 $584,195,812 $649,878,135 $615,471,241 78%
Capital Budget 91,702,695 154,682,652 160,199,720 174,889,918 22%
Total Budget $739,703,092 $738,878,464 $810,077,855 $790,361,159 100%

Operating Budget 

The $615 million operating budget includes funding for the day to day operations of enterprise operations (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,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 $175 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.

Current Budget
Current Adopted Budget

Fiscal Year 2020 Adopted Budgets

Budget Summary

Operating Budget Document