The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Capital Budgets and Multi-Year Budgets

Reference Number: MTAS-1829
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: September 07, 2017
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We estimate the wisdom of nations by seeing what they did with their surplus capital.

Ralph Waldo Emerson,
“Wealth,” English Traits (1856)


The International City/County Management Association publication Budgeting: A Guide for Local Governments defines a capital budget as “a spending plan for improvements to or acquisition of land, facilities, and infrastructure.” The definition continues by describing its elements: “The capital budget (1) balances revenues and expenditures, (2) specifies the sources of revenues, (3) lists each project or acquisition, and (4) must ordinarily be approved by the legislative body.”