City leaders in Superior will have to wait a little bit to see next year's budget; in fact they'll need to wait a month.

For a variety of reasons and with the guidance of the Mayor and councilors, the Superior City Council voted and approved a change to the city's ordinance that mandated that a budget for the upcoming year be presented at the "first council meeting in September". The change - which was approved by the Superior City Council at their meeting in August 16, will now move that requirement to "the first meeting in October".

Everyone involved welcomed the move.

At issue is the lagging nature of important budgetary numbers "that are difficult or impossible to determine" at that stage, according to an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall].  That leaves the proposed budget numbers "incomplete" when they're delivered in September.  The new October date buys some time.

It also aligns more with what other municipalities are doing around the state.  Superior Mayor Jim Paine shared:

"As far as I can tell, we're the only city in Wisconsin with that ordinance, making us the earliest budget presentation in the entire state.  It's kind of silly when I see many of my counterparts are not even beginning work on their general fund budget until well into fall for the reason I'm proposing this - you don't have all of your numbers."

In years past, the earlier (September) due date meant expected changes for the budget, and that often defeated the purpose.  As an example, "last year the budget changed twice from  the original plan before it was adopted in October".

Even with a month-delay now built into the budget process for the city, Councilors would still have plenty of time for review, discussion, and changes - if needed. Mayor Paine expanded:

"This ordinance would still allow you [as Councilors] three full meetings to amend the budget.  The big difference here is the budget would be complete.  The numbers would be as accurate as we can make them."

As a concessionary move, the Mayor proposed to give the Council an "update to the finance committee" in September.  That update would provide forecasted details about the budgets "heavy hitters" - things like health care, liability, and the like.

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