Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The "New Normal." What the CBO's Recent Sobering Forecast Means for Local Government


"The Congressional Budget Office expects the economy to grow at an even slower rate than it has in the past." 


"Get comfortable because the nation's economic output won't pick up any time soon. "

 

In a recent article in Governing, What the CBO’s Latest Predictions Mean for States and Localities, author Liz Farmer states, "For those who have wondered whether we've reached a "new normal," or whether these years of slow economic growth are just a blip on the radar, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has officially called it. Its new economic and budget outlook contains a sobering prognosis: Get comfortable because the nation's economic output won't pick up any time soon."

She goes on to write, "The recent CBO report anticipates that output will grow slower than it has in the past..... State budgets have reflected that weakness. Accounting for inflation, this fiscal year's total general fund spending of $748 billion is still 2 percent below the pre-recession peak, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). Even not accounting for inflation, this year's 3.1 percent spending increase over 2014 is far below the 5.5 percent year-over-year average recorded over the 37 years NASBO has been conducting its budget survey.

So what does all this mean for state and local governments as the 114th session of Congress kicks
off? It places a higher priority than ever on states to ensure their own financial sustainability. "Clearly the federal government will be less responsible for things at the state and local level," said Matt Fabian, a partner at the research firm Municipal Market Analytics. "The policy stage is shifting toward the states and that's where the meaningful work gets done."

Additionally, Watchdog.org recently published another piece on the CBO report titled, State, local governments face massive, growing budget gaps in 2015 and beyond. Author Eric Boehm states, "As the calendar flips to 2015, fiscal pressures will continue to tax the budgets of state and local governments.

Projections released this month by the Government Accountability Office show that state and local governments will see current gaps between revenues and expenditures continue to widen in 2015 and beyond. In aggregate, those governments are already underwater, and the amount of red ink will continue to grow over the next 50 years, unless changes are made, the GAO says.

Closing the gap will require aggregate budget cuts or tax increases of 18 percent."

Source: Government Accountability Office

We calculated that closing the fiscal gap would require action to be taken today and maintained for each year equivalent to an 18 percent reduction in the state and local government sector’s current expenditures. Closing the fiscal gap through revenue increases would require action of similar magnitude through increases in state and local tax revenues,” the GAO found. “More likely, closing the fiscal gap would involve some combination of both expenditure reductions and revenue increases.”

"Translation: governments will continue to stare down the question of cutting budgets or raising taxes."

Disrupting the "New Normal"


But are governments budget options strictly limited to cutting budgets or raising taxes? While we at the Center for Priority Based Budgeting (CPBB) agree that tax increases are the default mechanism for revenue increases and across-the-board budget cuts are, for some mystifying reason, still the scalpel of choice for many communities, examples abound of innovative and proactive cities and counties who are implementing much more strategic and proactive budgeting methods.

What assumptions do we hold so firmly and that so calcify our thinking to convince us that changing fiscal conditions represent our crisis? Would higher revenues and lower expenses allow us to operate crisis free? Or does the true crisis exist when, despite our fiscal realities, we don’t focus on those priorities and objectives that ensure the success of our communities?"

Perhaps the biggest concern we face is not a fiscal crisis. Fiscal trends and conditions are by and large out of our control and simply represent a reality with which we need to cope. The real crisis on our hands is whether our organizations have the capabilities to address current fiscal realities and still meet the objectives of government and the expectations of our constituents.

We recently reported on how the City of Boulder, Colorado, has successfully implemented priority based budgeting (PBB) into their budget process for their fifth straight fiscal year (High Five to Boulder, CO)! The city adopted PBB in 2010. During this time, the city has become a "leading practitioner" of PBB and utilizes this process in all of their short and long-term financial decisions. Per Boulder's Annual Budget Policy Document, "Now integrated into its fifth consecutive year of budget development, Priority Based Budgeting is "the cornerstone of the city's budget process," and "the framework within which all budget decisions are made."

Another example of a local government community addressing fiscal challenges head on is the City of Bainbridge Island, WA (Long-Term Financial Sustainability through Priority Based Budgeting in the City of Bainbridge Island, WA). Per the City, "Priority Based Budgeting helps the community and city employees understand the City’s use of its limited resources. This method of budgeting contributes to the city’s long-term financial sustainability by encouraging explicit choices. These choices help the City develop a strategic budget that reflects our community values and ensures a high level of city service to residents." Click here to read the full case study

We also have the Town of Christiansburg, VA (A Unique Approach to Budgeting). Per the Town's website, "Since late 2010, the Town of Christiansburg has been working with the Center for Priority-Based Budgeting, based in Denver, CO, on a radically different budget process that evaluates and prioritizes the programs and services provided by the town. Like so many other municipalities across the country, Christiansburg enjoyed many years of prosperous economic conditions. Most capital projects were paid for in-full and residents have long enjoyed a relatively low real estate tax rate for decades. However, the economic downturn of the past few years had a significant impact on revenues and the town found itself in a budget deficit situation.

When faced with a budget deficit, the common approach in many localities is to take “emergency-room measures,” such as across-the-board cuts, pushing back replacement schedules for vehicles and construction equipment, or implementing furlough days or even layoffs. These steps, while effective in cutting spending in the short-term, can have long-term implications on a town’s ability to provide the level and type of service citizens desire."
 

Local governments continue to face previously unknown financial and political pressures as they struggle to develop meaningful and fiscally prudent budgets.  Revenues are at best stable (or even declining), while demand for services continues to increase.  Citizens believe that government budgets are "fat" and that there is ample waste to "cut".  Civic leaders more often than not focus on "across the board" cuts that spreads the pain equally - but also encourages mediocrity rather than excellence. 

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 80 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.
And don't forget! The Priority Based Budgeting Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool is going web-based!  We've already built the basic model, but are now invited leading local government priority based budgeting implementers to assist us in crafting the final product. With the launch of this powerful new public finance technology tool, we now have 10 communities already signed up to define the future of on-line local government budgeting! If your community is interested in contributing to the final development of this disruptive new tool, and being among the first to utilize on-line priority based budgeting, contact us!

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

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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.

 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

City of Longmont, CO Prioritizes 1,244 City Services in a Detailed, Data-Driven Way


"Priority based budgeting is a process and a set of tools that can really help communities and elected officials change the way they talk about making financial decisions and how they achieve the results that the community is really looking for."



The City of Longmont, CO is now in their 3rd year of priority based budgeting. In April 2013, the City began implementing priority based budgeting into their budgeting process.

As we've recently reported, City staff and elected officials have made great strides in identifying the results the community wishes to achieve and linking city services to those results. The evolution of Longmont's PBB focused budgeting process continues.

Today, the Longmont Times-Call reported on how priority based budgeting is transforming the City's approach to evaluating city services. In the article, Longmont staff using budget software to rank city services, staff writer Karen Antonacci documents the power of CPBB's priority based budgeting software. In particular, this innovative budgeting software has allowed Council a more transparent way to establish and evaluate the budget in relation to the ranking of city services.

Longmont staff using budget software to rank city services


In setting budget priorities for 2016, the city of Longmont is going to be leaning more on a tool that ranks city services in a detailed, data-driven way.

The budgeting software, created by the Center for Priority Based Budgeting, was used in June in the
budget process for 2015, but now the city will use it more this year for the 2016 budgeting process and work toward getting the data online in the coming months.

The software ranks each of the 1,244 city services (everything from Main Street banners to the hazardous materials response) into four quartiles, with the fourth quartile being most important to the city and the first being the least important.

To group the programs into those quartiles, the software evaluates them on four attributes: how required the city is to provide a program, the reliance on a program, the cost and how much of the community is served by a program.

Golden presented Tuesday about the first attribute - what level of mandate the city has to provide a service. The Department of Public Safety had the most services that are required by a federal, state or county mandate while the Community Services department has the most services that are not required in writing and aren't published anywhere as best practices.

City Manager Harold Dominguez said one use for the software would be to evaluate one-time funding requests for 2016's budget. He used community solar gardens as an example, which a Fort Collins resident asked the council to consider during Tuesday's public invited to be heard portion.

"If the council wanted to consider this, we could put it into this formula and it would show us how it was ranked with all the pieces and we would see it fall into one of these categories." Dominguez said.

City Council members expressed gratitude to Golden for the detailed data on the 1,244 city programs.

"I'm going to read this over pancakes in the morning for the next couple of weeks," Mayor Pro Tem Brian Bagley said, holding up the 57-page printout of the rankings.

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

Follow Us on FacebookFollow Us on Google+Follow Us on TwitterFollow Us on LinkedInFollow Us on RSS

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.

 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Town of Bourne, MA Exploring Different Method To Budgeting through Priority Based Budgeting


This is a way to really get to know your municipality as to where your dollars are going.” Town Administrator Thomas Guerino


Looking for a better way to analyze and develop Bourne’s annual budget, town administrator Thomas M. Guerino has introduced town leaders to a different approach to the budgeting process.

Mr. Guerino said that the new process, known as priority based budgeting, is a way of “drilling deeper” to determine where budget cuts would be most effective. He said the system would not be a part of this year’s budget planning process, but he would like to incorporate it in the near future.


“If we can implement this over the next two to three years, it will become a matter of course on how we do business, and I think you’ll see that we are able to really hone down on expenditures,” he said.

Mr. Guerino said he first became aware of priority based budgeting when he attended a town managers conference in Seattle, Washington, last year. Members of the Bourne Board of Selectmen, Bourne Finance Committee and the Bourne School Committee were introduced to the new budgeting approach Tuesday night, January 13, during the first part of a two-night workshop at Bourne Middle School.

The workshop was taught by Christopher E. Fabian, co-founder of the Lakewood, Colorado-based Center for Priority Based Budgeting. Mr. Fabian and his partner, John M. Johnson, founded the organization back in 2010.


Mr. Fabian explained that there is a five-step process to priority based budgeting that begins with the simple question: Why is a given organization, in this case the Town of Bourne, in business? In essence, what would be the result of the town not being in business? Subsequent questions include how to determine if the town is achieving its desired results; what to do to achieve those results and how much does it cost; and which programs and services have the greatest impact on the results the town is trying to achieve?

The questions are applied to each department and each program or service provided by that department. A score is then applied to that offering. After the department does it own self-review, programs go through a peer review process that results in a final composite score. With all the programs scored, a four-line bar graph is then created which displays the number of programs having the highest impact on the town’s desired results down to those having the lowest impact. Decisions can then be made as to which programs are crucial and which may have become obsolete.


Mr. Fabian said that priority based budgeting is a more effective alternative to measures towns often resort to when crafting a budget, including implementing an across-the-board cut. Admittedly, the advantage to an across-the-board cut is that no one department feels more pain than another. It is also easier than attempting to justify why one department or program should get more money than another, he said.

However, an across-the-board cut on a municipal level would be the same as a homeowner applying a similar cut to their household expenses. The example he drew would be cutting the amount paid to a monthly mortgage bill by the same amount as the Netflix bill. That, he suggested, is not something the average homeowner would do.

"If we would never do it in our own house, why do we do it in our organizations?” he said.

The idea behind priority based budgeting is to determine which services provided by the town are “mortgage” expenses versus “Netflix.”

“What we’re trying to do with priority based budgeting is understand your best investments, understand the Netflix, where you can perhaps rechannel some of the resources to something that’s getting better results,” he said.

Mr. Fabian said the process does allow for identifying programs or services that are mandated by either the federal or state government, or the town itself. In those cases, if the mandated program falls within the category of lowest impact, the suggestion would be to seek an outside, independent source of funding, he said.

He also noted that priority based budgeting can reveal misperceptions that all the programs offered by a single department, such as police and fire, are of highest priority. He mentioned programs in both Boulder, Colorado, and Chandler, Arizona, that the police chiefs in each city felt were not achieving the desired results. Funding for each was rerouted to other programs, he said.

Mr. Guerino said he does not know the cost of the program yet, but “we’re not talking huge money.” Whatever the cost is, however, it will be shared by all the town’s departments. He admitted that it is a very involved process, and that it would take anywhere from three to five years before it is up and running fully. During the first several years, it would be a continual process of evaluation. After that, department heads would examine programs on more of a quarterly basis to see how services are matching up with expectations and needs, he said.

“This is a way to really get to know your municipality as to where your dollars are going,” he said.

This article was originally published in CapeNews.net

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

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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, January 12, 2015

What Makes Local Government Managers (and their Council) Sleep Well at Night


"What assumptions do we hold so firmly and that so calcify our thinking to convince us that changing fiscal conditions represent our crisis?"

 

"...the crisis facing local governments is not fiscal. It's the choices we make to address the fiscal challenges."


In a recent Governing article, national experts in government management and policy Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene co-authored the article What Keeps Government Managers Up at Night. In this piece, the authors discussed polling senior city and county leaders at the recent International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Annual Meeting last Fall.

Barrett and Greene asked several questions to approximately 200 of the nations top local government leadership. These include, "When you think of the future financial stability of your government, what worries you the most?” And question two asked, “What routes to the future financial stability of your government are you most optimistic about?

Barrett and Greene go on to say, "We got 127 responses. While we aren’t pretending that this was any kind of scientific survey, the results seemed more than sensible and worth sharing. To begin, the biggest worry in the crowd pertained to revenues. Even though about half the states have seen their revenues return to pre-recessionary levels, the number is far smaller among municipalities. In fact, 1 in 4 who sent us their responses indicated that oncoming revenue problems and shortfalls are significant sources of concern to them.

As you would expect, a fair number of attendees are placing their faith in a steady return of the economy to set things right again and put revenues neatly in line with expenditures. But the theory of rising tides lifting all boats wasn’t enough to keep the audience from coming up with a schooner full of concerns.

Other major elements mentioned by our respondents regarding revenue instability included decreasing state and federal funding, overreliance on property taxes given the potential of the housing market to crash again, and increasing demands for new programs.

But that’s just the beginning of the story. Many attendees were concerned about escalating employee costs, largely from pensions and other post-employment benefits. A good number of respondents told us that they were worried about pressing infrastructure needs and costs -- more pointed us in that direction than those who brought up health costs, the next most commonly mentioned item. Finally, though they described the phenomenon in a variety of ways, many respondents were concerned about rising citizen expectations in their cities for additional services now that the recession is allegedly over.

Inasmuch as we’ve spent the majority of our adult lives researching and reporting about state and local management, we found it particularly intriguing to note that the causes for optimism cited by the group largely fell into the area of managerial changes. More than 1 in 5 suggested that they were hanging their hopes on a variety of ways to prioritize services, control spending and inaugurate efficiency improvements. Tom McCarty, county administrator of Eau Claire County, Wis., was one of a number of people who recommended a focus on results-based performance measures to decide priorities. Others suggested that shared services and local government consortiums “will,” in the words of Caitlin Humrickhouse, a consultant at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, “provide a new operating environment that can help relieve some fiscal pressures.”

While we at the Center for Priority Based Budgeting certainly understand why so many local government managers remain sleep deprived (the challenges facing today's local governments are massive), what's so interesting about Barrett and Greene's findings is the revelation that the nightmare of the great recession still plagues so many of us. We have not yet awakened to the possibility that our crisis is not a fiscal crisis, but instead a crisis in the way we frame and define the challenges before our communities - the way we redefine the very role of local government. This is what keeps us at the Center for Priority Based Budgeting awake all night - working to solve this problem so that organizations like the nearly eighty who have implemented Priority Based Budgeting, their elected officials leadership, staff and citizens can rest a little easier.

These city and county leaders are able to rest because of the tools they use to utilize economic forecasting, economic scenario building and budget prioritization. Otherwise known as Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting.

The Crisis is Not Fiscal


What assumptions do we hold so firmly and that so calcify our thinking to convince us that changing fiscal conditions represent our crisis? Would higher revenues and lower expenses allow us to operate crisis free? Or does the true crisis exist when, despite our fiscal realities, we don’t focus on those priorities and objectives that ensure the success of our communities?"

Perhaps the biggest concern we face is not a fiscal crisis. Fiscal trends and conditions are by and large out of our control and simply represent a reality with which we need to cope. The real crisis on our hands is whether our organizations have the capabilities to address current fiscal realities and still meet the objectives of government and the expectations of our constituents.

The budget book, the certified annual financial report (CAFR), and reports out of the financial system are great tools for finance professionals, but they prove insufficient to clearly and simply answer the question: is the organization in "good shape" or is there trouble on the horizon? Furthermore, in a world of rapidly changing economic variables, the answer to that question today might not be the answer to that question tomorrow.

First and foremost, local governments must be clear and transparent about what truly is their picture of fiscal health. Communicating that picture simply and clearly without volumes of numbers, spreadsheets, tables, and an endless series of charts is frankly a challenge that has plagued financial managers for years. If local governments are going to be able to demonstrate financial reality internally to elected officials and staff, and externally to residents, they have to find better ways to make fiscal situations understandable and transparent to everyone.

The key breakthrough in this area has been "data visualization" which allows for the easiest way of creating a common view, a common perspective that is simple and that everybody can agree on. Part of the reason that financial problems can be obscured or hidden is because many times decisions makers have no idea how to understand finances to begin with. 

Data Visualization allows us to create a common view of the financial situation that is simple to understand and interpret, describes the clearly defined variables that can impact the financial situation, allows for "live" and "real-time" changes in these variables, and offers the ability for "dynamic" modeling of "what-if" scenarios - this is how transparency is created, and this is the essential first component of the paradigm shift required.

                                                                                  CPBB "Fiscal Health" Espresso Blast

Innovative and proactive communities are implementing much more strategic and proactive budgeting methods

The second component of the paradigm shift is changing the way that resource allocation discussions take place. Financial problems are also effectively hidden and obscured because the budget process allows for it. Line item budgeting, incremental budgeting, zero-based budgeting were each attempts to better understand "how" money is spent, but these methods fail to address a more fundamental question: "why" money is spent.

The question of whether or not public dollars are being used effectively is not answerable with the tools currently available to elected officials, decision makers, staff and citizens.

Priority Based Budgeting provides a comprehensive review of the entire organization, identifying every program offered, identifying the costs of every program offered, evaluating the relevance of every program offered on the basis of the community's priorities, and ultimately guiding elected and appointed officials to the policy questions they can answer with the information gained from the Priority Based Budgeting process, such as:
  • What is the local government uniquely qualified to provide, offering the maximum benefit to citizens for the tax dollars they pay?
  • What is the community truly mandated to provide? What does it cost to fulfill those mandates?
  • What programs are most appropriate to fund by establishing or increasing user-fees?
  • What programs are most appropriate for establishing partnerships with other community service providers?
  • What services might the local government consider “getting out of the business” of providing?
  • Where are there apparent overlaps and redundancies in a community because several entities are providing similar services?
  • Where is the local government potentially competing against private businesses within its own community?
Only the most innovative public entities have made strides in changing their structural approach to long-term fiscal health. And with the economy showing some signs of improvement, many will continue to operate as if to preserve the status quo and vainly wish for increased revenue. This approach represents a philosophy of wishful thinking that will only lead to failure.

The "New Wave" represents efficiency and innovation in this Era of Local Government. The new wave represents a golden opportunity for local government communities. Finding creative, clear, and transparent ways to demonstrate what the next 5 to 10 years might look like is a must if local government professionals are going to address fiscal concerns.  

All too often, local governments are unable to make sound, timely decisions regarding investing in new resources, starting new programs, or initiating major capital projects because elected officials, local government managers, and staff members are paralyzed by the uncertainty of whether they actually have enough money to appropriate for these purposes.

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.  


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

Follow Us on FacebookFollow Us on Google+Follow Us on TwitterFollow Us on LinkedInFollow Us on RSS

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.

 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Priority Based Budgeting Implementation.... Asheville, NC Style!


The City of Asheville, North Carolina became the fifth Priority Based Budgeting community in the State last month. What is remarkable about Asheville's PBB process is that the City's elected officials had established a starting place for the City's "Results" by way of an extensive strategic planning effort they'd completed, focusing primarily on the role of local government in their community. This Strategic Operating Plan ("SOP") provides a solid foundation for the PBB process to build upon.


On November 18, 2014, the City of Asheville, NC kicked off their Priority Based Budgeting process with a day-long workshop led by Jon Johnson and Chris Fabian from the Center for Priority Based Budgeting in Colorado. Jon and Chris presented City staff with an overview and history of PBB and led staff through a brainstorming exercise to define the City of Asheville’s Community and Governance Results. Jon and Chris ended the day with a session on defining programs and services (Program Inventory), which is the next step in the PBB implementation process. 


City staff are currently working through creating Program Inventories for their departments. Departmental Program Inventories are due to the Budget Office by Wednesday December 17, 2014. Work on PBB implementation will continue into the spring of 2015, and Finance staff will work with Jon and Chris to define a timeline for the next steps in the process. So stay tuned for further updates!


Below are links to materials presented at the November 18 Priority Based Budgeting workshop:




If you would like to read more about Priority Based Budgeting, please click on the links below:



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

Follow Us on FacebookFollow Us on Google+Follow Us on TwitterFollow Us on LinkedInFollow Us on RSS

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.

 

"DATA VISUALIZATION" for Local Government


Friday, December 5, 2014

Pioneering Douglas County, NV Brings Back Priority Based Budgeting!


Douglas County, Nevada has been one of the most successful implementers, and now practitioners, of Priority Based Budgeting. In fact, they were the first county in the nation to implement Priority Based Budgeting. Douglas County has also implemented a game-changing approach to citizen engagement. In 2012, the County embarked on the Priority Based Budgeting process with one of the primary objectives being to bring their community into an ownership position with respect to decision making. What unfolded in their groundbreaking use of an online tool to engage citizens sets the bar at a whole new level in participatory budgeting (see story here). Not only that, but the County's bond rating was affirmed as a result of their work. 

Now Douglas County is continuing their pioneering work with priority based budgeting and citizen engagement. The following article was recently published by The Record-Courier.
 
From The Record-Courier-
 
It’s rare that a county budgeting process is referred to as pioneering, innovative or award-winning, but Douglas County’s priority based budgeting has been called all those things. 

Key to the process is online input from county residents, who are being asked to visit a website
through Dec. 19 to share what their priorities are.

“Everyone’s voice matters,” said Christine Vuletich, finance director and assistant county manager. “We want to hear what is most important to our citizens in terms of the services we provide as a county,” 

On the website, participants divide $500 between six major areas, including safe community, economic vitality, well maintained infrastructure, financial stability, preservation of natural environment, resources and cultural heritage and managed growth and development.

To access Manage the County Checkbook, residents can visit: http://nv-douglascounty2.civicplus.com/989/Open-Douglas-County

Residents may also text “subscribe” to 775-309-4358. The online registration will ask for your name, email address and physical address. Your registration information is secure and will not be shared with any outside party. The physical address will allow responses from geographic areas within the county to be viewed, but the county and public will not be able to see the names of individual participants unless the participants chose to display their names. 

Any residents who do not have internet access may come to the Minden Inn and complete online or obtain access at the Douglas County Library. In addition, computers will be available in the lobby at county commissioner meetings.


In 2012, Douglas County became the first county in the nation to implement priority-based budgeting, which shifts the annual budget process from across the board allocations to investing in the community’s highest priorities. Priority-based budgeting has since been adopted by the International City-County Management Association and the Alliance for Innovation as a leading practice in local government.


Congratulations again to Douglas County, NV. We at the CPBB couldn't be more proud to partner with such an innovative group of local government professionals! Keep up the excellent work!

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

Follow Us on FacebookFollow Us on Google+Follow Us on TwitterFollow Us on LinkedInFollow Us on RSS

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.

 

"DATA VISUALIZATION" for Local Government