The Town of Bethlehem’s fiscal year is from January 1 to December 31. The budget is the official spending plan for all town departments, and it identifies the sources of funding to support the operating plan. The town supervisor and the Town Board receive public input on town services and spending requests throughout the year. These requests may be considered during the budget preparation process.
Town Departments begin to prepare spending requests and revenue estimates in late spring and early summer in order to submit them to the budget officer for compilation into the comprehensive budget document. The budget preparation timeline is established by statute, as follows:
Between the months of August and September, the Town Board may host budget workshops in which they have the opportunity to meet with the departments and seek further information on the budget requests as presented. The workshops are open meetings, and the public is encouraged to attend.
The budget officer must present the tentative budget to the town clerk no later than September 30, and to the Town Board on or before October 5th. The town’s budget officer is the town comptroller. The tentative budget is presented at the regularly scheduled second board meeting in September.
After the budget presentation, a copy of the budget overview and summary information is then made available on the town’s web site. A paper copy of the budget document is kept on file at the town clerk’s office for public review, and at the reference desk at the Bethlehem Public Library.
A public hearing is held on or before the Thursday immediately preceding the general election, which has historically been conducted at the second board meeting in October.
After consideration of public comment, and after the Town Board’s review process, a formal vote is taken to consider adoption of the budget, which must occur before November 20th. The Town Board generally votes on the budget at the first board meeting in November. Upon approval of the budget, the tax rates are established, and the budget becomes the spending plan for the upcoming calendar year.
For additional information on the budget process, the Office of the State Comptroller provides a publication entitled “Understanding the Budget Process” available under the local government section of the OSC website.
Please note, the entire web site and documents contained within can be searched using the Search Bethlehem feature, this includes all Budget documentation past and present.