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FY20 Operating Budget

Learn about how the Operating Budget supports various services provided by the City.

The FY20 Operating Budget totals $3.49 billion and represents an increase of $176 million or 5.3% over FY19.

  • The operating budget is an approved annual spending plan allotted to both city departments and central budgets. The budget supports the cost of the day-to-day operations of city government, such as public education and public safety.
  • The budget also includes the yearly mandatory payments required to support long-term commitments for items like retirement pensions and debt service related to the capital plan.
  • The Operating Budget is funded primarily based on an estimate of annual recurring revenues.


  • The FY20 budget reflects an increase of $174 million or 5.3% over the FY19 budget.
  • Of this year's growth, 51% is dedicated to education, including Boston Public Schools (BPS), the new Quality Pre-K Fund and Charter School Tuition Assessment. 30% will go to all other city services, such as Police, Fire, and Public Works, and the Public Health Commission.
  • 3% of the growth will go to estimated employee wage increases in the collective bargaining reserve. The remaining 16% of the growth will be consumed by pension, debt service and other fixed cost expenditures.

Operating Budget Total Spending

The FY17-FY18 amounts are actual expenditures and the FY19-FY20 amounts are budgets.


Operating Budget spending can be broken down into six main categories:

  • Personnel Service costs cover items such as employee salaries, overtime  and benefits.
  • Contractual Services represents services procured to support departmental operations such as telecommunications, utilities and other operational services.
  • Supplies and Materials covers costs such as gasoline for vehicles, office supplies, and other general supplies to support departmental operations.
  • Current Charges include required expenses for things like health insurance, bonds and health liability expenses.
  • Equipment costs include purchases like computers and financing costs for vehicles and information technology and telecommunication equipment.
  • Other costs include large items like employee pensions and capital bond debt service and charges assessed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Overall Spending


The chart to the left shows expenditures by area over three years.

The FY20 and FY19 amounts shown are budgeted amounts, while the FY18 amount is actual expenditures.

Explore Spending

Select a department to see how its budget has changed over time.

Departmental Spending

FY17-FY18 values are actual expenditures and FY19 and FY20 are budgets.

Revenue Overview

FY 2002

FY 2020

The City's recurring revenue comes from: State Aid, Property Tax, and/or Local Revenue.

The property tax levy has always been the City’s largest and most dependable source of recurring revenue.

In recent years, property taxes have become a significantly larger portion of the total revenue due to decreases in state aid.

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