Budget Planning

Municipal Budget Planning

Financial budgeting is a planning tool that enhances local government accountability and service delivery, and sets out their legal expenditure authority. The legislation establishes requirements and deadlines for the adoption of financial plans, and a local government may amend its plan during the year for unexpected expenditures.

Legislative Requirements

Local governments must annually adopt a financial plan in accordance with the Local Government Act and the Community Charter. The planning period for the financial plan must include the current fiscal year and the next four fiscal years (five-year plan). At a minimum, the plan must include:

  • Proposed expenditures (operating, capital, interest, and principal payment on debt), funding sources (for example, taxes, fees, grants, new borrowing, and debenture debt), and transfers to and from reserve funds and surplus
  • Objectives and policies for the fiscal year regarding the distribution of funding sources, the distribution of property taxes amongst various property classes, and the use of any permissive tax exemptions

A local government must not budget for a deficit (planned expenditures and transfers to funds cannot exceed planned revenues, transfers from funds, and other cash contributions). However, if actual expenditures and net transfers from the previous year exceed that year's revenues and contributions, the resulting deficiency must be carried forward to the current year's financial plan as an expenditure.

Municipalities must adopt their financial plans before they adopt their annual tax rate bylaws (which must be adopted before May 15 each year).

How to get involved?

The District welcomes budget feedback from the community at all times throughout the year. To get involved with the budget planning process you can:
Submit your feedback to:

Budget Planning Process

October - December:

  • Municipal Staff Prepare Draft Budgets for their Department
  • Preliminary Community Consultation, including Budget Surveys, Education, & More
  • Review of Departmental Budgets by the Director of Finance
  • Drafting of Operational, Equipment, and Supplementary Project Budgets
  • Draft Operating Budget Presented for Council Discussion


  • Draft Supplementary Project Budget Presented for Council Discussion
  • Supplementary Project Budget undergoes Council approvals, cuts, or deferrals


  • First Presentation of Consolidated Five Year Financial Plan
  • Review of Revised Assessment Roll & Establishment of Tax Rates
  • Adoption of Financial Plan and Tax Rates Bylaw
To find out more information on the 2024-2028 Financial Plan go to

Are you curious about how your property tax is calculated?

The District of Houston is here to help you understand the process better. BC Assessment provides valuable insights on how the assessment value of your property affects the calculation of the tax rate. This year, the average residential tax assessment increased by 11.3% in Houston.

To learn more, watch this informative video on Property Assessments and Property Taxes available at

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