Is there a deadline for adopting a municipal budget?
No. State law does not set forth a specific date by which a municipal budget must be enacted. In the past, the League advised that a municipal budget must be adopted by the end of the year because villages and cities operate on a calendar fiscal year. Wis. Stat. §§ 61.51(3) and 62.12(1).
For all practical purposes, however, the budget should be adopted by the end of November or, at the latest, the beginning of December. Otherwise, the municipality will be unable to comply with certain other deadlines relating to the property tax process. For example, village boards must determine the village’s tax levy by December 15. Wis. Stat. § 61.46. Also, the municipal clerk must transfer the tax roll to the municipal treasurer by December 8 under § 74.03(1), unless the § 74.03(2) exception to this deadline applies. Additionally, the clerk must return the annual “Statement of Taxes,” showing all taxes levied in the municipality, to the Department of Revenue on or before the 3rd Monday in December. Wis. Stat. § 69.61.
Moreover, many municipalities have their tax bills printed by the county or a private service provider. In such situations, the municipality will need to have its budget adopted in time to comply with the county’s or private service provider’s deadline for receiving the tax roll. Thus, practically speaking, the deadline for adopting a budget is dictated by other deadlines, both statutory and otherwise, designed to ensure that tax bills are sent to taxpayers with enough time so that that they can pay their property tax bills before the end of the year. (rev. 9/19)