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Budgets & Work Plans

The City Council adopts budgets and work plans for two fiscal years at a time, no later than June 30 of odd-numbered years. Fiscal years begin every July 1 and end 12 months later on the following June 30.

Budget Policies

City of Laguna Woods Administrative Policy 2.9 provides a framework for the development of the City’s budget, with an emphasis on balance, transparency, fiscal responsibility, and long-term planning. The policy establishes numerous prudent and responsible standards related to budget development and implementation, including regular public reporting in the interest of financial transparency and accountability.

After the City Council adopts the budget, authorized appropriations become effective on July 1 of the applicable fiscal year and establish legal spending limits for City programs, projects, and services. The City Council may amend the adopted budget at a public meeting at any time during the fiscal year.

The City Council adopts budgets at the fund level with the City Manager having the authority to make adjustments within and between departments in the same fund, provided that there are no increases in fund budgets. While the City Manager is authorized to decrease fund-level budget appropriations as a method of fiscal control, City Council action is required to increase fund-level budget appropriations.


Recognizing that reserves are a key component of fiscal responsibility and financial resilience, City of Laguna Woods Administrative Policy 2.9 provides guidance for the City to ensure the adequacy of its available financial resources to address periodic, unanticipated, and emergency needs. In addition to local fiscal needs, the establishment and maintenance of reserves also includes the consideration of best practices established by various authoritative agencies.

The overall target for assigned reserves is established in an amount equal to 50% of the adopted General Fund revenue budget at the beginning of each fiscal year (July 1), less any one-time revenues and non-operating revenues. The overall target amount is used to fund three assigned reserves:

In addition to assigned reserves, unassigned General Fund balance (General Fund monies that are spendable and not classified as restricted, committed, or assigned for specific purposes) is available for any governmental purpose and can be appropriated by the City Council at a public meeting. Use of unassigned General Fund balance is generally limited to one-time projects, capital improvement projects, the payment of long-term liabilities for periods beyond the current fiscal year, and emergency expenditures.