Budget Information

Kirkland’s 2023-2024 Budget - what matters most to you? 

Kirkland prides itself on providing residents an exceptional quality of life with safe streets, a clean environment, and beautiful parks. The City makes many choices that contribute to this high quality of life, whether related to public safety, maintaining our parks, keeping our pedestrians safe or protecting our natural environment, through our budget.

In the 2022 Biennial Community Survey, the City asked residents what is most important to them. The survey gauges resident satisfaction with City services and helps establish priorities for the budget. Among other insights, we know from the survey that residents want to stay informed about how community resources are being spent.

  • Want to have your say on how Kirkland’s programs and services are funded? Here are some ways to get engaged: 

Guide to Kirkland's Budget

The City’s budget is composed of 24 separate funds that are balanced independently—revenues equal expenditures. The City's budget is divided into four primary sections—General Government, Water/Sewer Utility, Surface Water Utility, and Solid Waste Utility. Within each primary section there are operating and non-operating funds, with the exception of the Solid Waste Utility which is comprised of an operating fund only.

General government operating funds account for services to the public including public safety, street maintenance, land use, parks and administrative functions. Taxes, fees and charges, and contributions from other governments, are the primary finance sources for general government. Non-operation funds account for debt service, capital improvements and reserves related to these operating funds.

Like the general government funds, the Water/Sewer Utility and the Surface Water Utility both have operating and non-operating components. Distinct from the general government funds, each of the utilities operates much the same as a business (enterprise), with customer charges (rates) supporting all costs. Resources of the utilities cannot be used to subsidize general government functions. 

Budget Process

The Biennial Budget Process

Kirkland follows a biennial budget process.  State law requires that the first year of a biennial budget be an odd numbered year.  Accordingly, the preparation of the biennial budget occurs during an even numbered year, beginning in June and continuing through the end of the year.  The following are key steps that the City takes to prepare its budget.  (See the next page for a diagram of this process.)

  1. The City Council holds its mid-year budget review meeting in June and receives a status report on the current biennial budget and an updated six-year financial forecast, with an emphasis on the coming biennium.  In addition, the City Manager requests input from the City Council about budget priorities and overall direction.
  2. In July, the Finance & Administration (F&A) Director makes the official “budget call” to all department directors requesting expenditure and revenue estimates for the current year and the coming two years.
  3. The F&A Department prepares all general purpose revenue estimates, which mostly consist of taxes, state shared revenues and entitlements, and intergovernmental service revenues, during the first half of August.  In addition, the F&A Department receives and reviews all departmental revenue estimates during the same time period.  All departmental expenditure estimates for the current year and “basic budget” requests for the coming biennium, which represent the estimated cost of maintaining the current service level, are received and reviewed by the F&A Department during the second half of August.
  4. In late August, the F&A Director, City Manager and Deputy City Manager meet with each department to review their basic budget requests.
  5. In early September, departments submit additional funding requests (called “service packages”) for new positions, equipment, and projects which are over and above their basic budgets.  The F&A Department reviews all service package requests by mid-September.  In years when funding is limited, departments may also be asked to submit proposed expenditure reductions.
  6. In mid-September, the City Manager meets with each department to review their basic budget and service package requests.  In addition, the City holds a public hearing in mid-September to gather citizen input on proposed revenue sources for the coming biennium.
  7. The City Manager finalizes the preliminary budget proposal, which includes recommended service packages and reductions (if any), by the end of September.  In early October, the City Manager and F&A Director brief the Council Finance Committee on the preliminary budget proposal.
  8. In October, the F&A Department prepares and prints the preliminary budget document for the coming biennium.  By November 1st, the preliminary budget document is filed with the City Clerk, distributed to the City Council and the departments, and made available to the public.
  9. The City Council meets in November for a series of budget study sessions to review the City Manager’s proposed budget and to determine if there are any changes they wish to make.
  10. The City holds a public hearing in mid-November to gather citizen input on the preliminary budget as well as on any changes made by the City Council during their budget deliberations.
  11. In December, the City Council adopts the final property tax levy for the coming year and the final budget for the coming biennium each by ordinance via a simple majority of the members present.  The appropriation approved by the City Council is at the individual fund level.
  12. The F&A Department publishes the final budget document during the first quarter of the following year, distributes the document to the City Council and the departments, and makes copies available to the public.

Budget Adjustment Process

There are two types of adjustments related to the adopted budget:  1) transfers between line items or between departments within the same fund; and 2) changes to an individual fund’s total appropriation.  The former is handled administratively when needed with the approval of the F&A Director.  The latter can take place at various times during the biennium and requires Council approval by ordinance.

The first opportunity to adjust a fund’s total appropriation generally occurs in March of the first year of the biennium.  Typically, this is when funding for projects and other significant purchases that were not completed during the prior biennium is “carried over” to the new biennium.  The second opportunity takes place during the mid-biennial budget review which culminates in December of the first year of the biennium.  This adjustment primarily relates to the following:  1) outside agency and new service package funding requests for the second year of the biennium; 2) any unanticipated needs, events, or revenue sources.  The final opportunity to adjust a fund’s total appropriation occurs at the end of the biennium in December.  This is the last time that adjustments for unanticipated needs, events, and revenue sources can be recognized and approved.  Also, this is when the General Fund’s total appropriation is adjusted, if necessary, to provide the budgetary authority to transfer excess net resources to other funds in order to replenish or build-up reserves and to fund one-time service packages in the coming biennium.  In addition to the three adjustment processes described above, other adjustments may occur during the biennium as needed.

The process for changing a fund’s total appropriation is as follows:

  1. Requests for budget adjustments are submitted in writing to the F&A Director.
  2. If approved, requests are consolidated in an ordinance and presented to the City Council at a regular meeting at one of the three times noted above.
  3. The City Council approves adjustments to a fund’s total appropriation for the biennium by a simple majority of the members present.
  4. Approved adjustments are incorporated into the existing biennial budget resulting in a revised appropriation for the current biennium.

Capital Improvement Program (CIP)

Kirkland’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) funds the City's capital needs over a six-year period based on various City-adopted long-range plans, goals and policies. Capital projects are generally large-scale in terms of cost, size and benefit to the community. The underlying strategy of the CIP is to designate resources for land acquisition, construction, and major maintenance of public facilities necessary for the safe and efficient provision of services. A critical element of a balanced CIP is the provision of funds to preserve or enhance existing facilities and provide new assets that will support service needs and community growth.

The CIP is constrained by available funding and by funding sources that have specific restrictions.  The community’s needs for capital improvements significantly exceed available funding.  For example, the 2019-2024 CIP includes $827 million in capital investment needs, of which only $194 million are funded given limited resources.  

2023-2028 Preliminary CIP Summary Document(PDF, 59MB)
2023-2028 Preliminary CIP Detail Document(PDF, 10MB)


2021-2026 CIP
Adoption of the 2021-2021 Capital Improvement Program Memo and Resolution R-5459(PDF, 799KB) (adopted 12/08/2020)

2021-2026 CIP Documents
2021-2026 CIP Summary Document(PDF, 12MB)
2021-2026 CIP Detail Document(PDF, 9MB)

2019-2024 CIP
Adoption of the 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Program Memo and Resolution R-5346(PDF, 2MB) (adopted 12/11/2018)

2019-2024 Preliminary CIP Documents
2019-2024 CIP Summary Document(PDF, 8MB)
2019-2024 CIP Project Detail Document(PDF, 5MB)

2017-2022 CIP
2017-2022 CIP Summary Document(PDF, 11MB)
2017-2022 CIP Project Detail Document(PDF, 12MB)

2015-2020 CIP
2015-2020 CIP Summary Document(PDF, 14MB)
2015-2020 CIP Project Detail Document(PDF, 14MB)

2013-2018 CIP
2013-2018 CIP Summary Document(PDF, 10MB)
2013-2018 CIP Project Detail Document(PDF, 9MB)