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City Budget & Capital Improvements Plan

The City’s annual budget is the financial plan for City operations for the coming year; a planning tool used by the City Council to guide policy decisions and by City Staff to carry out community and Council initiatives.  The preparation of the City budget is mandated by state statute.

The City of Cottage Grove uses a two year budget model to assure that initiatives from one year do not create subsequent year deficits.  Revenues and expenditures are estimated based on historical trends and anticipated events.

The Property Tax Levy necessary to fund City operations each year is determined during the annual budget process.  The Property Tax Levy includes funds for general operations, debt service and other special levies for specific purposes.

On July 15th and July 22nd, City staff members presented a balanced 2021 budget proposal to the City Council. The proposal calls for a modest levy increase of 3.99% after Department Directors were required to hold the line on operational spending. Since Washington County estimates Cottage Grove’s tax base will grow 9% in 2021, the City was able to propose a levy increase under 3%. The next step will be the Council approving the levy in September. Below you’ll find the two budget workshop presentations that started the 2021 budget discussion.


Budget calendar: A typical budget preparation calendar includes the following target dates:

  • May – Budget Goal setting workshop with City Council
  • June – City Departments submit budget requests and revenue estimates
  • July and August – Review and balance budget during workshops with City Council
  • September – Council adopts preliminary property tax levy and budget
  • November – Proposed property tax notices for the upcoming year are mailed to taxpayers. 
  • December – City Council receives adopts final levy and budget
Capital Improvements Plan

2020-2024 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) (PDF)
2018-2022 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) (PDF)  

The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is a planning device to schedule proposed public improvements and purchases over a five-year period. The Plan matches proposed expenditures and revenues by project within an affected fund. A capital improvement is defined as a capital expenditure that is greater than $15,000 with a life expectancy of five years or longer. Capital improvements are projects, which require acquisition, construction, or replacement of various public facilities, public buildings, infrastructure, utilities and parks in the community.