Council Receives Mayor’s Budget Proposal, Sets Schedule for Budget Approval

Less than seventeen hours after adjourning its Legislative Meeting, the Council reconvened to receive the mayor’s FY 2025 budget proposal. Due to an unexpected ruling by the Chief Financial Officer, the mayor’s budget submission was not submitted by its original due date. The schedule was reworked, and the budget has now been submitted. At the submission hearing, both the mayor and the Chief Financial Officer made presentations and then submitted to two rounds of questioning by all councilmembers.

This year’s budget cycle was long expected to be the tightest in years, due to the expiration of one-time federal COVID funds, declining property values, less vitality on downtown streets due to ongoing work-from-home policies, and a need to provide a dependable, ongoing funding source for Metro.

Further complicating matters, however, was a policy interpretation by the Chief Financial Officer requiring the District to fully refill its still-extensive, but COVID-depleted, reserves sooner than thought legally necessary by the Council and the mayor. This interpretation led to the delay in budget submission and an additional round of budget cuts in the mayor’s proposal.

The mayor’s budget proposal is just that—a proposal. The actual budget of the District of Columbia is what the Council approves and sends to the mayor for her sign-off. While the Council has complete authority to modify any and all aspects of the proposed budget, time and staffing capacity can limit the order of magnitude of changes the Council can undertake.

Having completed its agency-by-agency performance oversight hearings last month, the Council has now initiated its parallel agency-by-agency budget oversight hearings. Due to the two-week delay in the submission of the budget, instead of those hearings being held from March 25 to April 19, they will be held from April 22 to May 4. Hearings scheduled from April 4 to April 10 will occur as originally scheduled, but all other hearings have been rescheduled. That new schedule can be seen here.

The Council’s public budget hearing will be held on May 3, committee budget markups will be held May 8 to 10, the Council’s all-day budget work session will be held on May 15, the Council’s first budget vote will be on May 29, the second budget vote will be on June 12, and the second vote on the Budget Support Act (which includes all the legislative changes encapsulated in the dollars-and-cents budget passed earlier) will occur in the month following the second Council budget vote.