How does Hennepin County create its budget?

Every year, Hennepin County drafts, debates, and eventually approves a budget. This is called the budget process.

What is the budget?

A budget expresses our County’s priorities by determining the services, projects, and initiatives that will be funded in the next year.

Who develops the County’s budget?

The budget is created by the County Administrator with input from the Hennepin County Commission and from staff.

  1. County Commission – Suggests budgetary changes and approves the final budget by vote.

  2. County Administrator – Oversees the development of the budget with support from staff and provides recommendations to the County Commission.

  3. The Budget/Finance Office – Provides staff support to County Administrator for budget development.

  4. Department Officials – Provides insight, recommendations, and staff support to the County Administrator for budget development.  

  5. The Public – Provides feedback and requests through public comment, activism, and meetings with County Commissioners.

How is the budget developed?

The budget is developed through a year-long budget process. This is when recommendations are weighed and priorities are decided upon. I see the County’s budget process is divided into three main phases:

What is the timeline for the budget process?

Minnesota’s 87 counties all have slight variations to their budget process timeline. Hennepin County, Minnesota’s largest county in both population and budget engages in our budget process annually, outlined below.

How can I learn more about the budget process?

County residents have several opportunities to attend budget meetings including the following:

  • Board Briefings – Board briefings occur throughout the “Requesting” and “Proposing” phases. This is when the County Commission is briefed on important issues and projects in the county, many of which have budget implications.

  • Budget Presentation - This is when the County Administrator presents the proposed 2020 budget to the County Commission.

  • Vote on the Maximum Levy – This is when the County Commission decides the maximum levy, or the maximum amount the County can increase taxes by for that fiscal year.

  • Budget Hearings – Budget hearings occurs throughout the “Deciding” phase. This is when the County Commission is briefed on the proposed budgets of each county department.

 What does the process look like for 2020?

Below are the dates for 2020 Budget Hearings:

  1. Health: Thursday, September 26, 2019 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

  2. Public Works: Thursday, October 10, 2019 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

  3. Human Services and Public Health: Thursday, October 17, 2019 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

  4. Public Safety: Monday, October 21, 2019 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  5. County Attorney / Capital Budgeting Task Force (CBTF) / Capital Presentation and Fees: Thursday, October 24, 2019 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  6. Operations and Libraries: Monday, November 4, 2019 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  7. Administrator Amendments / Commissioner Discussion: Thursday, November 14, 2019 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

  8. Commissioner Amendments: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  9. County Board holds truth in taxation public meeting: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 6:00 p.m.

  10. County Board approves 2020 budget and levy at regularly scheduled board meeting: Thursday, December 12, 2019 1:30 p.m.

Can I impact the budget?

County residents have several opportunities to affect the budget process. However, different approaches are better suited to different phases.

  • One-on-one meeting with a Commissioner –Most Commissioners are open to meeting with residents to discuss the budget. However, these discussions are most impactful during the “Requesting” or “Proposing” phases.

  • Public Comment Periods – County’s offer regular public comment periods year-round. During these times, residents can voice budget concerns or requests that the County Commission will consider. The remaining Public Comment Periods for 2019 are as follows:

    • October 1 at 1:30 p.m.

    • October 15 at 1:30 p.m.

    • October 29 at 1:30 p.m.

    • November 12 at 1:30 p.m.

    • December 3 at 1:30 p.m.

    • December 3 at 6:00 p.m.

Akhilesh Menawat