Monday, May 2, 2016

First Past the Priority Based Budgeting Post in Strathcona County


“To think about how much of a pioneer you truly are is substantial, and people will look to you for your example and they will learn from you.”


Strathcona County, Alberta, Canada, is leading the way in priority based business planning and budgeting. As the first municipality in Canada to implement online PBB, this will result in Strathcona County being more proactive, strategic and effective in program and service delivery. The process will provide valuable information that supports decision-making by directors and managers, enabling them to allocate or reallocate resources, based on each program or resource request’s alignment to strategic and corporate priorities. It can also be used by the organization to set targets and determine how resources are aligned, based on priorities.

The following article was published on April 18, 2016 by the Sherwood Park News and written by Krysta Martell.

First past the priority-based budget post


Strathcona County is becoming a leader in budgeting, as the first municipality in Canada to implement priority–based budgeting.

Three years ago, county council discussed strategic planning and priorities with representatives from the Denver–based company, the Centre for Priority–Based Budgeting.

A strategic planning session followed consultations, at which point council got the opportunity to see results from an American community that had gone through the process.

To help Strathcona County pursue the initiative, an online tool will be used to allow the county to look at their budget and consider what the best dollar value will be for residents.

“This is a big moment... This is the mission of our entire endeavor,” said Chris Fabian, co-founder of the Centre for Priority–Based Budgeting.

He said there have been more than 100 organizations that have gone through the process of priority–based budgeting; six have attempted it in Canada, two have made it to the point of prioritizing programs, and one — Strathcona County — is the first with online tools and the potential of delivering on the initiative.

“There are over 90,000 entities of local government throughout the United States and Canada,” Fabian said. “To think about how much of a pioneer you truly are is substantial, and people will look to you for your example and they will learn from you.”

Jon Johnson, co-founder of the Centre for Priority–Based Budgeting, said they always want to ask the question: Why consider priority-based budgeting?

“This is a challenging time, whether it is the economy, whether it is the environment, whether it is our political climate,” he said. “Why would you change? Why would you look at the budget differently?... We found this helps you communicate differently what you spend your money on — how you can make it clearer to everybody and what is it that we do with those tax dollars.”
Johnson said they want to be able to help guide the conversation in determining where to put the money that would have the most benefit for the community.

“You talk about looking at your ongoing operating budget. You got $320 million that we had to communicate. Well, what is it that we do with those dollars? What is it that we spend them on?” he asked.

The consultants provided an overview of the online budgeting program for different county programs, as they apply to the budget.

“There are $13 million of programs that resources are being allocated to for which you are not influencing in any of the results you want to do,” Johnson said, adding: “This tool is about reallocation, reuse, retraining. It is helping you see, how we take the resources we have and move them in a different direction.”

The City of Boulder, Colorado discovered they were not spending enough money on environmental sustainability, looked at their resources and made a plan for almost $3 million of new programs in that area by shifting and repurposing resources.

“Just realize, this is the beginning of the work you are going to be doing with staff,” Johnson said.
“How do we direct things? And how do they help you get to the policy questions and the policy discussions that you want to have about your budget? Your resource allocation plan maximizes the strategic goals your community wants to achieve — that you know are important for your community.”

Coun. Brian Botterill noted the county’s open data portal may be helpful in the budget process.

“I think best practices — if there are any between communities using PBB (priority-based budgeting) and how they share their successes — would be hugely beneficial because the volume of data is very, very large,” he said. “Choosing what to share and how to share it would be imperative and I think, down the road, one thing I would like to see is a way to integrate this with our open data portal.”

“I’ve always been a very strong proponent of zero-based budgeting,” said Coun. Vic Bidzinski. “I was a little skeptical three years ago when we made that first presentation... How is it going to affect us? And what is the difference between this and this?... I think you can go even deeper into departments... and really get some unbelievable information.”

Mayor Roxanne Carr said she is looking forward to using the tools.

“I have been waiting for this update... for three years because it was this council that had the foresight to bring them in and to encourage our administration to go forward into the future with the priority-based planning,” she said. “I was excited to hear them and I am looking forward to using these tools.”

The Center for Priority Based Budgeting
“A Prioritized World” 
2016 Annual (Un)Conference

Denver, Colorado | August 2 - 4, 2016
Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel 

Monday, April 25, 2016

City of Humboldt Open House Brings Priority Based Budget to Public


"Priority based budgeting will better allow the city to support its long-term strategic goals based on community values."


This article originally written by Becky Zimmer from the Humboldt Journal. 

The public had their chance to ask questions on April 5th at the public budget meeting at the Uniplex.

City Manager, Roy Hardy, made the presentation to a small crowd on what the 2016 budget is going to look like in terms of tax increases and social programs.

Unlike the budget draft that had a $3.6 million deficit, Hardy presented a $260,000 deficit to the public since now some more finite numbers have been decided, including some revenue streams that were not included in the draft budget.

"We're getting down to the final budget decisions that need to be made. It needs to be put in council hands."

When it comes to the amount of feedback the city has received from Humboldt residents, the waste management program has received the most feedback through social media.

"Council is going to have to look at that one very seriously," says Hardy. "There are a number of viewpoints that say yes, it is good, shows that we're becoming a city.... and on the other hand there are others that say how is this going to benefit me?"

Council has to look at the community as a whole when it comes to these split decisions.

Hardy says the waste management program will make Humboldt greener and cleaner so that has to play a big role in the decision.

The needs and wants are always going to be greater than the amount of money the city has to work with.

Priority Based Budgeting, which was brought in fully this past budget season, allows for the rating of
programs on a one to four scale. Looking at the rated programs, there is $12 million dollars that is doing what it needs to do in the one and two rated categories, says Hardy. Three and four ranked programs, which make up $2.3 million for analysis, does not mean the program needs to be scrapped. Hardy says it just means that the programs need to be evaluated more fully.

"In some cases, there are going to be some programs that score low but we still have to have them at the end of the day."

Some of these numbers can be deceiving since money can be spent on one program that fits many city goals.

When it comes to the different goals receiving money, Humboldt spends more money on being a safe, reliable infrastructure, and sustainable community.

That paints a picture that Hardy says the city did not have before.

The city can now see the correlation between dollars spent and the values that they want to focus on, says Hardy. Priority spending then takes it a step further and evaluates if the city is getting the, "best bang for the buck."

Creating new partnerships is something the city needs to look at going forward, says Hardy. With major projects coming up, including the Multiplex, Centennial Park, and more infrastructure work that needs to be done, regional partnerships and discussion needs to take place.

"Some of the services we are looking to provide are ones you won't find in a smaller municipality. We have to make the effort in saying what would be the benefit to the residents of your municipality if Humboldt had this type of facility or developed these programs."


Community grants is something that Hardy thinks the city should reevaluate when it comes to budgeting for programs, with exception to the Community and Leisure Services Department.

To get these programs running without city based grants, Humboldt would need help from other partnerships.

An example of the types of partnerships Hardy is mentioning are things like the LED sign west of the city. It is on city land but there were no tax dollars that went into the sign itself. The city gets the benefits of it without burdening taxpayers.

"That's a kind of partnership that takes on a different look, so those are the things that we're exploring with others." 

The CPBB congratulates the City of Humboldt on their innovative work implementing priority based budgeting. And their utilization of PBB to accelerate actionable decision-making, especially surrounding partnership opportunities.

To find out more about how City of Humboldt utilizes and applies priority based budgeting data, check out the following links:

City of Humboldt 2016 Public Budget Presentation

2016 City Budget Information

"Our Humboldt" Strategic Plan Incorporates Priority Based Budgeting

City of Humboldt Budget Page of Website

The Center for Priority Based Budgeting
“A Prioritized World” 
2016 Annual (Un)Conference

Denver, Colorado | August 2 - 4, 2016
Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

3 Ways Governments Can Better Manage Their Finances


"Priority-based budgeting encourages governments to engage with citizens, measure their expectations, and factor this feedback into their budgetary decisions."


Written by Erin Latham and published by GovLoop

Many municipalities across the U.S. are caught in never-ending cycles of financial trouble. These governments find themselves burdened by budget deficits and massive debts that simply pile up over the years. Sometimes, the situation gets so out of hand that they have to file for bankruptcy — a rare but devastating last resort.

When governments fall into so deep a financial hole, it can be very difficult for them to climb out of it. It takes money to reverse the situation — but where does this money come from?
 
Government leaders often create bigger problems for their municipalities when they try to supplement their budgets with cash reserves instead of raising taxes. This approach only temporarily stops the financial bleeding; it doesn’t solve the problem permanently. It merely defers the inevitable tax raise until the next year because current expenditures don’t match current revenue.

However, raising taxes also comes with its own set of hang-ups. If economic growth hasn’t kept up with projected growth surrounding debt limits, it becomes extremely difficult to keep increasing taxes year after year. Eventually, these constantly rising taxes will induce a mass exodus of residents, which will only make the situation worse.

The resultant shrinking tax base is a worst-case scenario for a local government balancing its budget. Not to mention that even after the economy begins to rebound, most governments cannot immediately respond because they need to wait until they have formulated and executed their annual or biannual budgets.

There’s no question that the cards are stacked against cash-strapped municipalities, but it certainly isn’t impossible for them to get back on track.

Making Better Budgetary Decisions

Governments that rely primarily on sales tax revenue are searching high and low for a quick and easy way to minimize expenditures without sacrificing the services they provide. Often, they’ll wisely look to their vast collections of business data for answers, but they’ll find themselves drowning in too much outdated, disorganized, and irrelevant information. In fact, anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of all corporate business intelligence projects fail for these very reasons.

When governments can’t glean useful insights from their mountains of data, it’s nearly impossible for them to build anything that resembles an effective budgeting road map.

Tech-driven strategic methodologies and cloud-based applications brought us into this era of big data, and they can also help us thrive within it. Here are three potential solutions to the public sector’s budgetary issues:

Priority-Based Budgeting. Join the growing ranks of local governments adopting priority-based budgeting in their attempts to overcome fiscal challenges and unsustainability. This methodology provides cities with a comprehensive review of every program they offer, along with their costs and their effectiveness, helping them prioritize and align available tax dollars to the most important programs.Priority-based budgeting also encourages governments to engage with citizens, measure their expectations, and factor this feedback into their budgetary decisions. The Center for Priority Based Budgeting has introduced intuitive web-based platforms that reshape the way communities can influence how their resources are leveraged. 
 
South Jordan, Utah, is one such city that has embraced this strategy, granting each member of its city council access to an online portal that displays the costs and performances of more than 500 programs. Jupiter, Florida, has also seen big results from priority-based budgeting, reallocating nearly $700,000 immediately after gaining the insights and feedback made possible by the methodology.  
 
Align Strategy With Fiscal Performance. In the modern era, you can ensure your fiscal health by making budgetary decisions and adjustments throughout the year — not just at the beginning of every new budget cycle. Newer cloud-based technologies enable governments to consolidate their data silos into one universal reporting and strategic planning platform that — through enhanced operational intelligence and embedded analytics — reveals the scope of their municipal needs and aligns them to their strategic priorities. This allows cities to not only make decisions on the fly, but also to better plan for the future and share their strategies with their residents.
 
Recently, one of my company’s clients aggregated its current and historic law enforcement time-tracking data into one cloud-based reporting solution. This enabled the city to explore how its law enforcement payroll costs corresponded to its population growth and other demographic information. Moving forward, it could use these data to successfully request additional personnel for the department. In the past, such requests were often denied because of their lack of statistical backing.
 
Intelligent Reserve Usage. Each local government needs an emergency fund, and these cash reserves should never be used for day-to-day activities. They should be used only for extraordinary circumstances, such as paying off debt.Incorporating executive and operational views of the organization through cloud-based reporting solutions provides governments with automatic liability reconciliation, real-time fund balance calculations, and historically based cash-flow projections — all of which provide vital pieces of operational intelligence when it comes to identifying the right time to use cash reserves.One county government I work with ended up saving $7 million in interest payments over time by taking this approach.

Local governments are no strangers to financial issues, and some of their common practices only make the problems worse. By consolidating their existing applications and data silos into one cloud platform that offers fresh and strategic budgetary methodologies such as priority-based budgeting, local governments can achieve more stability and visibility and can pave the way to a brighter future.

The Center for Priority Based Budgeting
“A Prioritized World” 
2016 Annual (Un)Conference

Denver, Colorado | August 2 - 4, 2016
Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel 

Monday, April 18, 2016

City of Joplin, MO Seeks Public Input to Set Priorities for Budgeting!


Priority Based Budgeting looks at many factors of the City’s operations” - City Manager Sam Anselm.


The City of Joplin, Missouri is in their first year of the priority based budgeting process. And they're making excellent strides in their work! As part of this process, Joplin is conducting a citizen survey to collect public input and validate community results.

In order to gain as much public input as possible, City Manager Sam Anselm provided a comprehensive overview of priority based budgeting in Joplin via a live radio interview. And the city has been promoting the citizen survey through their website and social media. The following is from the City of Joplin's website.

What truly matters to citizens as they think about their city of residence? Is it recreation and leisure activities? Feeling safe and secure? Or perhaps having smooth streets that allow large amounts of traffic to travel from one place to another? There could be dozens of different answers, and the City is asking citizens to tell us THEIR answers related to the Joplin community by taking a short survey.

This survey is part of the new Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) process that the City of Joplin has adopted. PBB helps ensure that resources are allocated in the best way to meet the needs of citizens. It does this by asking the community and city council to determine what the priorities of the community are. The priorities are then given definitive and measureable results through programs offered by various departments. Through a rating system, money is allocated to the programs and areas that help the City achieve the community’s goals.

The survey asks Citizens how they would rank the priorities. By completing the two-question survey, citizens can influence how City resources are allocated to the areas that matter most to their community. The input received will influence how the City invests in and achieves each result. The priorities listed were determined through an analysis of City planning documents and in consultation with City Council and City staff.


Priority Based Budgeting looks at many factors of the City’s operations,” said City Manager Sam Anselm. “By establishing goals and having the public rank these, it begins to identify service areas that our community sees as important. City Council, staff and the public then begin to review resources utilized in working toward these goals, as well as those that may not be related or providing results. The process gives our citizens a direct opportunity to engage and help set priorities for their community. This method helps to guide appropriate resources to these priorities so we can better meet the citizens’ needs.”

To take the online survey, click on the link at the end of this article. Citizens can also fill out a survey at Joplin City Hall. Surveys will be available at the Main Lobby desk and returned into the box near the surveys. Surveys should be returned by Monday, April 18.

To complete the survey....

The Center for Priority Based Budgeting

“A Prioritized World” 

2016 Annual (Un)Conference

Denver, Colorado | August 2 - 4, 2016

Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel 



 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Analyze This! Your Fiscal Command Center w/ ELGL, CPBB + City of Shawnee, Kansas!


"To make smart, proactive decisions, municipal leaders need a fiscal command center for data-creation, data analytics and data-driven decision making."


ELGL and CPBB are proud to partner in an innovative webinar training series, "I Want to be Your Analyst." This series, consisting of a monthly blog and training webinar, is intended to provide case studies, introductions to unique analytic tools, and expertise into the hands of all local government (emerging) leaders.

This ten part series will pair proven CPBB concepts and tools with one of our partner local government communities who are actively implementing (or have implemented) our innovative trends. This will provide key insights into how communities actually utilize these tools.

The April Training Webinar


With I Want to be Your Analyst, local government professionals will gain an introduction and key insights into the CPBB war chest of cutting-edge online tools. On April 20th at noon PST, join ELGL, CPBB and City of Shawnee, Kansas City Manager Carol Gonzales as we explore, discuss and demonstrate how establishing a Fiscal Command Center can empower your local government to make smart, proactive, data-driven decisions. In this training webinar, we'll specifically discuss:
  • What is a Fiscal Command Center
  • Creating an accurate and actionable data set
  • Implementing and utilizing data analytics and data-driven decision making
  • CPBB partner City of Shawnee, KS case study presented by City Manager Carol Gonzales – “The City's Work Plan includes projects for 2015 and 2016 and ties together the City’s work with PBB as well as projects that move the City forward in meeting Results

 

Webinar Training Prep


It goes without saying that the vast majority of local governments No. 1 priority is to establish a vibrant community by establishing and delivering great results to its citizens. This outcome is typically met by efficient resource utilization and delivering high-quality services that exceed citizen expectations.
Sounds simple, right? But how exactly do you connect available resources, costs, and outcomes associated with specific services to communicating value (results) to citizens? 

Does your local government specifically know, for example, the true cost of your curbside recycling program (including all fees, rates and charges)? With what data would you work with, if you were tasked with analyzing outsourcing (or in-sourcing) vehicle maintenance? What if your organization was approached with a proposal to consolidate inspections services with another jurisdiction - what program data would you have on hand to evaluate and execute the right decision?

Assuming detailed program-by-program level cost data actually exists within your organization, where would you find it? In the budget, on a separate spreadsheet in the Budget Director's or Mayor's office? And again assuming this data exists, what else could you do with it? 


Could you make ready comparisons to other public-sector, or private sector service providers (to evaluate the efficiency or the appropriate sourcing of your programs); could you bring departments into the process of understanding and communicating better what they do, and how much it costs, on a program level; could you see clearly how your workforce is associated with programs (do you have retirement eligible staff serving a particular program, and are you aware of how you'll address succession planning?, for example); and will it allow you to transition your approach (or the department's approach) from line-item budgeting to program budgeting?
Data-Focused Decisions

The truth is that very few governments are able to meet their No. 1 priority because they don't have the hard data required to make smart and transparent decisions throughout their organization.

Nor do they have the internal structure, a fiscal command center, where the critical data flows together and provides a visual platform for intelligent, transparent, data-focused decisions to be made.

To make smart, proactive decisions, municipal leaders need a fiscal command center for data-creation, data analytics and data-driven decision making. This command center presents an intuitive user-interface to identify the programs and services your organization provides, and translates your line-item budget into a program budget. The development of a program inventory and program costs is the foundational data-set to bring clarity and understanding, data-focused decision-making, in a time when it’s never been so crucial. And it’s never before been so easy to do…
Register here!  April 20th at noon PST, join ELGL, CPBB and City of Shawnee, KS City Manager Carol Gonzales as we explore, discuss and demonstrate how establishing a Fiscal Command Center provides a visual platform for intelligent, transparent, data-focused decisions to be made!

Monday, April 4, 2016

City of Battle Creek, MI Launches a "New Wave" of Online Priority Based Budgeting!


"Priority Based Budgeting helps us align our resources to be the most efficient and effective in providing services." - City Manager Rebecca Fleury


The City of the Battle Creek is the second Michigan community (along with City of Kalamazoo) to
take on an entirely new way of budgeting. Through priority based budgeting, staff review the entire city organization, identifying all programs, their costs, and their relevance through prioritizing each. This process has been implemented by over 120+ local governments across the United States and Canada and is recognized as a best practice by organizations like the International City/County Management Association (ICMA); the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA); the Alliance for Innovation and the National League of Cities (NLC).

Organizations that use priority based budgeting believe it increases the level of accountability and transparency and better communicates how resources are allocated through the budget process to achieve priorities of the community.

This is a new process for the city, and not a small one to begin, but moving in this direction was a goal City Manager Rebecca Fleury brought to the organization when she was hired in 2014.

“Understanding what our community thinks are our most important services is key to good governance,” Fleury said. “It is vital to the City Commission and this administration. Priority Based Budgeting helps us focus on these and align our resources to be the most efficient and effective in providing services. PBB is a transparent way to ensure, as public servants, we are being good stewards of the tax dollars with which we are entrusted.”


City receives visual budget representation


The City of Battle Creek now has a visual representation of its 2015-2016 budget in the form of a Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool created with the help of the Denver-based Center for Priority Based Budgeting.

The city began the transition about a year ago to priority based budgeting in an effort to address our fiscal health and wellness. The City of Battle Creek is the second Michigan community to take on this new way of budgeting, which increases our accountability and transparency, and better communicates how resources are allocated through the budget process to achieve the community’s priorities, referred to as community results in the PBB model.

The CPBB’s Fiscal Health Model provides a visual tool to help facilitate budget discussions. It will allow city staff to create live scenarios that give elected officials an instant picture of the financial impacts of their decisions. The model allows for a clearer understanding and better communication on various budget scenarios.


The model can be used to help departments prioritize city programs, understand the impacts of those programs and better understand the ongoing and one-time funding sources involved.

The city’s new diagnostic tool was discussed and demonstrated during a City Commission workshop Thursday night and will become available later in the budget process.

To get to this point, city and CPBB staff worked together to develop the city’s “result maps,” which detail the factors that influence the way we achieve our results, or goals, as a city. Staff then created a program inventory for each department and assigned costs and values to each, which the CPBB used to develop our diagnostic tool.

Staff’s last step was to score each program against the community results and basic program attributes to help determine the program quartile, 1 through 4, with 1 being those programs most important to achieving the community results and 4 being less so. A healthy quartile map shows the majority of resources being allocated to quartile 1 and 2 programs. Battle Creek displays a very healthy pattern in resource allocation, but further analysis is required as we fully understand the information provided by the diagnostic tool.

The city’s identified programs – what we do – totaled 1,061, with 839 community programs and 222 governance programs. The City Commission and staff will review these programs and the cost to provide them as we move through the fiscal year 2017 budget process, currently under way.

“This is a great starting point,” said City Manager Rebecca Fleury. “This model provides a tremendous opportunity for the city to reevaluate and discuss the value of the programs on which we’re spending money, and how they can help us achieve the community results.”


Click here to learn more about priority based budgeting in Battle Creek!




Keep an eye on the CPBB blog for further updates. Sign-up for our social media pages so you stay connected with TEAM CPBB!

If you're thinking of jumping into the world of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting we would certainly like to be part of your efforts! Contact us to schedule a free webinar and identify the best CPBB service option(s) to meet your organization's particular needs.


  
 

Monday, February 8, 2016

City of Battle Creek Second in Michigan to Implement Priority Based Budgeting!


"Priority Based Budgeting helps us focus on these and align our resources to be the most efficient and effective in providing services." - City Manager Rebecca Fleury


The City of the Battle Creek is the second Michigan community to take on an entirely new way of budgeting, with the help of a Denver-based firm dedicated to helping local governments address their fiscal health and long-term wellness (this article originally published by City of Battle Creek).

Through priority based budgeting, staff is reviewing the entire city organization, identifying all programs, their costs, and their relevance through prioritizing each. This process has been implemented by almost 100 local governments across the United States and Canada and is recognized as a best practice by organizations like the International City/County Management Association (ICMA); the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA); the Alliance for Innovation and the National League of Cities (NLC).

Organizations that use priority based budgeting believe it increases the level of accountability and transparency and better communicates how resources are allocated through the budget process to achieve priorities of the community.

This is a new process for the city, and not a small one to begin, but moving in this direction was a goal City Manager Rebecca Fleury brought to the organization when she was hired in 2014.

“Understanding what our community thinks are our most important services is key to good governance,” Fleury said. “It is vital to the City Commission and this administration. Priority Based Budgeting helps us focus on these and align our resources to be the most efficient and effective in providing services. PBB is a transparent way to ensure, as public servants, we are being good stewards of the tax dollars with which we are entrusted.”


The goal of PBB is to make sure the city is spending tax dollars on the highest priority programs that meet eight "results," the term used to identify the role of city government. Through focus groups, surveys and workshops with staff and city commissioners, the City of Battle Creek's results are:

1. Access to recreational, cultural and leisure opportunities
2. Connected, accessible and reliable transportation network
3. Economic vitality
4. Environmental stewardship
5. Reliable and up-to-date infrastructure
6. Residents and visitors feel safe
7. Vibrant, healthy neighborhoods
8. Well-planned growth and development

The Center for Priority Based Budgeting has worked with the city along the way, as we work to fully implement this budgeting process in our next fiscal year, starting July 1. The CPBB helped develop "results maps," which detail the factors that influence the way we achieve those results. Staff then worked through a process of creating a program inventory in each department and assigning a value to each.

City staff and community members were asked to fill out a survey last spring to help inform those results maps.

The CPBB next will help the city develop a method for allocating our resources, based on our priorities. We will have a customized diagnostic tool that will assess spending in terms of our identified priorities (more information to come on that in the future), develop "target budgets" for departments, and analyze programs. Prioritizing in this way will help the city visualize and analyze how we spend money and how we might adjust spending according to our stated results and priorities.

Keep up with Battle Creek's progress with priority based budgeting at their website.

Congratulation to the City of Battle Creek and to Rebecca Fleury, city leaders, elected officials and staff for your tireless work and commitment to the City of Battle Creek and the citizens of the community. Excellent work and we at the CPBB are proud to partner with you!  

For new Michigan communities interested in priority based budgeting, check out our upcoming training sponsored by the Michigan Municipal League in partnership with SEMCOG, ELGL and the Alliance for Innovation. Register here!





Keep an eye on the CPBB blog for further updates. Sign-up for our social media pages so you stay connected with TEAM CPBB!

If you're thinking of jumping into the world of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting we would certainly like to be part of your efforts! Contact us to schedule a free webinar and identify the best CPBB service option(s) to meet your organization's particular needs.


  
 

Budget Season Brings Priority Based Budgeting to City of Humboldt, Saskatchewan



“What it really does is it helps us with making sure, overall, our dollars are prioritized to what we want,” - Roy Hardy.


The Center for Priority Based Budgeting (CPBB) recently partnered with our sixth Canadian Municipality, the City of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, in implementing priority based budgeting. Based on this exciting new project, Becky Zimmer with the Humboldt Journal penned the following article (full article below) titled "Budget seasons bring new budget system to Humboldt."

Thank you Becky Zimmer for your interest in highlighting the innovative work Roy Hardy, city leaders and staff have performed on behalf of the City of Humboldt and the citizens of the community.

Budget seasons bring new budget system to Humboldt



The City of Humboldt with be planning a different budget for 2016.

This year, city officials will be using the Priority Based Budgeting system developed by a group in Colorado to analyze where and how tax dollars  are being used.

The new system will take the Our Humboldt Strategic Plan that has been developed by the city over the past couple of years and rate money distribution based on the values the community has set for themselves.

City Manager Roy Hardy says that this tool will help find the direct linkage between the money spent on programs and the desired results that are measured at the end of the day.




“We now use a tool that  helps us identify what our goals are and how our resources are being applied against those results that we want,” says Hardy.

The desired results themselves are the values the city set in the Strategic Plan, while the measurement system is a rating of 1-4 on a scale of money contributing to these values to money that does not contribute to these values.

To get this rating for the programs, the city has changed how they are getting their data, as well, as well as looking at the cost of the programs in different ways, says Hardy.

Before the new budget was brought in, money was broken down by amounts needed for each department.

Now, the city is getting more finite numbers based on breaking the budget down by program funding, staff effectiveness, and resources going into the program, then comparing that to the desired result.

“We’ve got dollars, and people, and resources, and we compare that with the results we get.” Says Hardy.

To rate the programs last year, the department heads looked at the programs within their departments and gave them a rating, but then also looked at programs outside their department and gave them a rating as well.

This year, front line supervisors were also involved in the analysis of the programs, which has helped staff better understand the programs that the city is offering, says Hardy.

Department personnel were paired off, with one member of the department available to act as a reference point and then another member of a different department there as a second set of eyes on the program, says Hardy.

After all the programs are rated, what does that mean for programs at the bottom of the scale? 

Center for Priority Based Budgeting co-founder, Chris Fabian, says that a program that gets a rating of four does not automatically mean that this program is set for the cutting block but is a program that could use resources more effectively.

Relative to a program that is using resources to directly improve the community based on the values, a four improves on these values very little, says Fabian.

 
“It’s not about cutting but re-channeling so they are constantly focused on making sure all the resources are creating the greatest benefit for the community.”

Hardy also sees a four rating as a program that needs to use money and resources more effectively instead of being cut, but it starts the dialogue of looking at the program more closely.

“It may be not doing what you want it to do but is there a reason why we’re doing it,” says Hardy.
Going back and looking at the program, the city can then decide to still fund it, remodel it, or not fund it at all.


“What it really does is it helps us with making sure, overall, our dollars are prioritized to what we want,” says Hardy.

Fabian founded the center with co-founder Jon Johnson because, while working in municipal politics themselves they noticed a difference between what different programs municipal governments  were funding and the direction the community was headed.
 
“When it came to our decisions makers trying to make any sort of sense of our dollars we take in actually achieving results, it’s somehow not a very easy question to answer.”

Attitudes towards resources is another issue when it comes to moving dollars around, says Fabian.

A lot of communities just do not think they have enough money or resources. Fabian says that they do, but it is about using their resources more effectively.

“It’s just a matter of making sure you’re using it in the right way.”

Center for Priority Based Budgeting has over a hundred communities across the United States, as well as 6 within Canada, including St. Albert, Alberta and Lethbridge that just signed on last week. Humboldt is the first community in Saskatchewan.

Fabian says he applauds Mayor Eaton and Hardy for creating this momentum in Humboldt and who are eager to try something new when it comes to budgeting. A lot of that credit goes to having a strong leadership base, says Fabian.

“It’s not easy to take a large organization, like a government, and say we’re going to try to completely reallocate resources.”

Humboldt residents will have plenty of opportunity to see the new budgeting system in action.
The 2016 budget open house is set for sometime in March and will give residents the opportunity to see what Priority Based Budgeting can do.

“We’re going to get people thinking about this and thinking particularly about the questions that we’re asked to get the analysis that we did,” says Hardy.



Keep an eye on the CPBB blog for further updates. Sign-up for our social media pages so you stay connected with TEAM CPBB!

If you're thinking of jumping into the world of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting we would certainly like to be part of your efforts! Contact us to schedule a free webinar and identify the best CPBB service option(s) to meet your organization's particular needs.


  
 


Monday, December 14, 2015

Analyze This! Priority Based Budgeting w/ ELGL, CPBB + South Jordan City, UT!


"Priority-driven-budgeting is a common sense, strategic alternative to budgeting."   - South Jordan City Mayor David Alvord



ELGL and CPBB are proud to partner in an innovative webinar training series, "I Want to be Your Analyst." This series, consisting of a monthly blog and training webinar, is intended to provide case studies, introductions to unique analytic tools, and expertise into the hands of all local government (emerging) leaders.

 

This ten part series will pair proven CPBB concepts and tools with one of our partner local government communities who are actively implementing (or have implemented) our innovative trends. This will provide key insights into how communities actually utilize these tools.

The January Training Webinar


With I Want to be Your Analyst, local government professionals will gain an introduction and key
insights into the CPBB war chest of cutting-edge online tools. On January 13th at noon PST, join ELGL, CPBB and South Jordan City Executive Leadership, including City Manager Gary Whatcott, CFO Sunil Naidu and Budget Director Don Tingey as we explore and discuss Priority Based Budgeting (PBB). In this training webinar, we'll specifically discuss:
  • What is Priority Based Budgeting
  • How to implement PBB
  • Advanced implementation (Online Priority Based Budgeting)
  • Successes and challenges in how South Jordan City implemented PBB
Register here!

Message from South Jordan City Mayor David Alvord

Some of you may know that in preparing for the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget the City Council, City Manager, senior staff and I engaged in a new priorities based budgeting format. Priority-driven-budgeting is a common sense, strategic alternative to budgeting. The philosophy of priority driven budgeting is that resources should be allocated according to how effectively a program or service achieves the goals and objectives that are of greatest value to the community. As those needs are identified and prioritized through discussion, a very clear picture of where to allocate resources emerges. As a result the City will once again have a balanced budget in 2015-2016.

One of the budget priorities for me since I became interested in local government has been seeing  that taxes reflect our actual needs. I am pleased to announce that after working with our City Council and city staff, that the 2015-2016 budget will include further reductions in tax revenue, meaning that the City will be taking less taxes. This accomplishment could not have happened without the cooperation of our excellent staff and employees.  

Priority-based budgeting also requires elected officials to make fiscal decisions which benefit the long term financial health of the City. To that end, the City will be paying off $4,000,000 in debt from the bond used to purchase the Mulligan’s property. Reducing our debts improves our already well regarded credit ratings and improves the overall fiscal health of South Jordan.

Purpose of Priority Based Budgeting

South Jordan’s residents and elected officials disagree about a wide variety of political positions. That’s part of the political freedoms we share in the United States. Our shared commitment to efficient governance, however, will focus all of us on working together to find solutions that benefit our common good. Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Mayor. It’s great to live in South Jordan!


Webinar Training Prep

Priority Based Budgeting is a unique and innovative approach being used by local governments across the Country to match available resources with community priorities, provide information to elected officials that lead to better informed decisions, meaningfully engage citizens in the budgeting process and, finally, escape the traditional routine of basing "new" budgets on revisions to the "old" budget.  This holistic approach helps to provide elected officials and other decision-makers with a "new lens" through which to frame better-informed financial and budgeting decisions and helps ensure that a community is able to identify and preserve those programs and services that are most highly valued.  

The underlying philosophy of priority based budgeting is about how a government entity should invest resources to meet its stated objectives. It helps us to better articulate why the services we offer exist, what price we pay for them, and, consequently, what value they offer citizens. The principles associated with this philosophy of priority based budgeting are:

• Prioritize Services. Priority based budgeting evaluates the relative importance of individual programs and services rather than entire departments. It is distinguished by prioritizing the services a government provides, one versus another.
• Do the Important Things Well. Cut Back on the Rest. In a time of revenue decline, a traditional budget process often attempts to continue funding all the same programs it funded last year, albeit at a reduced level (e.g. across-the-board budget cuts). Priority based budgeting identifies the services that offer the highest value and continues to provide funding for them, while reducing service levels, divesting, or potentially eliminating lower value services.
• Question Past Patterns of Spending. An incremental budget process doesn’t seriously question the spending decisions made in years past. Priority based budgeting puts all the money on the table to encourage more creative conversations about services.
• Spend Within the Organization’s Means. Priority based budgeting starts with the revenue available to the government, rather than last year’s expenditures, as the basis for decision making.
• Know the True Cost of Doing Business. Focusing on the full costs of programs ensures that funding decisions are based on the true cost of providing a service.
• Provide Transparency of Community Priorities. When budget decisions are based on a well-defined set of community priorities, the government’s aims are not left open to interpretation.
• Provide Transparency of Service Impact. In traditional budgets, it is often not entirely clear how funded services make a real difference in the lives of citizens. Under priority based budgeting, the focus is on the results the service produces for achieving community priorities.
• Demand Accountability for Results. Traditional budgets focus on accountability for staying within spending limits. Beyond this, priority based budgeting demands accountability for results that were the basis for a service’s budget allocation.

Priority Based Budgeting has now been successfully implemented in over 100 local government
communities coast-to-coast. We take pride in our partnership with these CPBB communities in an effort to improve a community's fiscal health for the benefit of the entire community. 

The core CPBB concepts of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting are truly inspiring a new wave of municipal fiscal stewardship. A complete revolution in how local governments utilize their limited resources to the benefit of the communities they serve. 

This "New Wave," the fundamental paradigm shift in municipal financial stewardship, must be accepted if local governments are to be financially viable and able to create the types of communities their citizens are proud to call home.

Local government communities must consider a completely different perspective. In order to achieve success and accept the challenges that are ahead, we must see more clearly how to manage, use, and optimize resources in a much different way than has been done in the past.  

This new environment demands a new (economic) vision of the future. And that vision is created through priority based budgeting.
 
Register here!  January 13th at noon PST, join ELGL, CPBB and South Jordan City Executive Leadership as we explore and discuss priority based budgeting, the power of the online priority based budgeting tools and a case study of PBB implementation from South Jordan City, Utah!