Where do city revenues come from?
Real estate and personal property taxes are the city’s two main sources of revenue, comprising nearly half of the city’s general revenue sources. All other taxes, fees, licenses, and earnings are the remainder of general revenues. State and federal revenues comprise about 10 percent of General Fund revenues, primarily as categorical aid in the Human Services (social services) area.

Many city revenues, while paid by citizens as taxes to the state and federal levels, come back to the city in the form of aid programs or grants. Each year, the city or city agencies receive funds from state and federal sources for everything from transportation projects to education assistance. Even though these programs are paid for with revenue derived from a citizen’s income and sales taxes, the city usually has little choice in deciding on what to spend the money. The federal and state governments establish the policies and guidelines for these programs that the city must follow in order to be eligible to receive these grants and aid.

While it is still true that much of government revenue is derived from local taxes, user fees are a source of funds for selected public services. Water, sewer, garbage collection, and certain recreation programs are a few examples of public services whose costs are paid for primarily by user charges. If you have any questions, please email the Department of Budget and Evaluation.

Show All Answers

1. What is a budget?
2. Why do governments budget?
3. What is the timeline for the budget process?
4. Why does the budget begin in the middle of the calendar year?
5. How are spending decisions made?
6. What budget documents are required to be prepared?
7. What are the legal responsibilities of the City Manager and City Council regarding budget setting?
8. Once the budget is approved, can it be changed?
9. Where do city revenues come from?
10. Since the final budget can be only an estimate, what happens when the actual spending or revenues is higher or lower than the city expected?
11. How is the operating budget organized?
12. What is the Capital Improvements Plan?
13. How does the city pay for Capital Improvement Plan projects?
14. What does the Bond Authorization permit the city government to do?
15. How can the city proceed with projects if it has not sold bonds to get the cash needed to pay for them?
16. How much can be borrowed?
17. How does the budget affect property taxes?
18. How can I express my opinion to elected officials on budgetary issues?