Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Unique Approach to Budgeting - The Town of Christiansburg, VA & Priority Based Budgeting


A Unique Approach to Budgeting


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.

Developing a Process


With the above information in mind, help was sought from the Center for Priority-Based Budgeting in developing a prioritization process that could be used to help the town better understand:
  • The programs and services it provides the community
  • The true cost of providing these services
  • The best way to allocate funds as the town strives to spend within its means

This course of action is intended to help focus the town’s decision-making process by basing priorities on outcomes. The concept behind prioritization of services is that it creates an objective and transparent decision-making process, one that ensures programs of higher value to citizens (i.e., those that achieve the organization’s objectives most effectively) can be sustained through adequate funding levels, regardless of the economic conditions. This strategic approach to managing the current fiscal environment will also help insure the town’s long-term fiscal wellness.

Priority-based budgeting is a key component in the budgeting process, with Town Council and staff using its results to determine the best way to allocate available resources. In addition to assisting in the determination of what services and programs contribute directly to the Town’s overall objectives, the process also helps in evaluating any future new programs or services being considered.

Working on the Process


Work on the budget prioritization process began in December 2010, when advisors from the Center for Priority-Based Budgeting met with councilmembers and representative citizens at a public meeting. The advisors facilitated a discussion to help define and refine Christiansburg’s results, or overall objectives and strategic goals. The group first examined the Vision 2020 previously prepared by Town Council to ensure the goals in the vision were broad enough to cover the many needs and desires of the community, yet specific enough to allow for further definition. Participants then wrote down the services, amenities, and/or initiatives that went into achieving these goals for our town. (In other words, participants defined what it specifically means for Christiansburg to be, whether a “clean, healthy, safe place to live” or an “interconnected community.”) While some answers seem obvious and would be basic requirements regardless of where you live or work, the exact way in which each objective is defined by and for our town is uniquely representative of our community’s needs and desires.




After much discussion, it was determined that the town’s overall objectives should be:

Meeting Multiple Objectives


You may notice a bit of redundancy in some of these definitions. This is due to the fact that some programs, services, or initiatives offered by the town are so important, or so all-encompassing, that they help meet multiple objectives in Christiansburg’s desire to make our town a great place to live, work, and visit. For example, building and maintaining quality transportation and utility infrastructure systems is listed under “Clean, Healthy, Safe Place to Live.” However, you will also find slight variations related to transit options and mobility under “Green, Well Planned Community,” “Interconnected Community,” and “Retail, Commerce and Tourist Destination.”

Why is this? Simply stated: transportation is vital. A well planned, well built, and well maintained transportation network is necessary if Christiansburg is to going to meet all of these objectives. If you were to only list transportation issues under one objective, the others would be incomplete. As part of the priority based budgeting process, town staff also diligently worked to create an overall “inventory” of all services and programs currently provided to its citizens. The final tally included over 400 listings; from installing sewer lines in the ground to installing child safety seats in citizens' vehicles, and everything in between.

Grading Services & Citizen Input


A next step in this prioritization process involved the “grading” of the overall Town services and programs, specifically grading in terms of how each program or service rates specifically to each of the six overall Town objectives listed above. Those programs that contributed significantly to the objectives received higher “grades” than those programs that did not contribute directly. Next, the overall cost of each program was determined.

In addition to the internal work described above, the town incorporated a Citizen $100 Exercise into the process, where those who live and work in town were asked to prioritize the goals/objectives that the town is striving to achieve for the community. This citizen input was factored into the weighting of the individual goals/objectives.

View the final list of programs and their corresponding quartile listings.


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.

 

Friday, September 19, 2014

ICMA 100th Annual Conference + CPBB & YOUR Local Government Community!



The Center for Priority Based Budgeting (CPBB) is momentarily "home" after having the honor of presenting Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting at the ICMA 100th Annual Conference.  It was an incredible experience for us, having four distinct opportunities throughout the program to reach new audiences eager to embrace an entirely new way of leading their communities with the tools of Priority Based Budgeting. As this was the 100th Anniversary of ICMA, the CPBB was humbled and invigorated to be positioned as providing the "new lens" necessary to thrive in the next 100 years of leading local government!

As true believers in the “New Wave” of Local Government, the CPBB actively promotes the fact that local governments cannot continue to do things the way they always have. Of most interest to us is the concept of the “intended use” of resources based on the results a community desires to achieve, or what we would call “alignment of resources with results” in Priority Based Budgeting (PBB).
  

Central to PBB is the idea that all local government organizations can determine the role they're suited to serve best within a community, and amongst all potential service providers within a region - identifying the overlap, the potential for partnerships, consolidated services, and spinning off of services between city, county, school district, non-profit and private sector organizations. The end goal is nothing short of the most efficient use of a community's resources as a whole, to achieve the results of a region – it’s "bang for the buck" for the provision of public services.



Never before has the mission of our work in Priority Based Budgeting come into clearer focus. Today, we in local government are being called to embrace “The New Wave of Local Government.” This “New Wave” will be a time "in which the fiscal woes of federal and state governments will leave local governments on their own” and yet a time "in which local government will lead the way in developing creative solutions to extraordinary problems."

The CPBB dives deep into what it will require of all of us to seize the opportunities brought forth by this “New Wave” of Local Government, rather than succumbing to it’s challenges. These articles and video expands upon these opportunities by diving deeper into the definition, concepts and innovative local government opportunities represented by the “New Wave” of local government.

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 over 70 communities have now embraced a new (economic) vision of the future through the New Wave of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting

To discover how the CPBB might be able to benefit your community, contact us to schedule a free webinar. We like to use webinars to learn more about your unique community, gain a better understanding of your community goals and challenges, identify what you intend to achieve by implementing Fiscal Health and/or Priority Based Budgeting, and provide an overview of the process so you understand the steps necessary to meet your goals. 

We look forward to talking with you!

P.S.- As a “thank-you” for attending and participating in our presentation(s), please see the link below for the full presentation slides.

ICMA University: Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting

Learning Lounge: Fiscal Health Modeling


Learning Lounge: Priority Based Budgeting


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.

 

Monday, September 8, 2014

City of Salinas CA "working on a significant new way of allocating valuable City resources" through Priority Based Budgeting


--> "This cutting edge trend is now a best practice and is growing in the government sector because it is helping cities, counties and other governmental agencies allocate resources to programs that matter most."- City of Salinas Finance Director

 

The City of Salinas, CA initially began implementing priority based budgeting (PBB) in partnership with the Center for Priority Based Budgeting (CPBB) in late 2013. Through the significant leadership of the City Manager and City Council, staff have worked through the five steps of PBB and now have the resources and tools (the PBB Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool) necessary to make thoughtful decisions regarding the best use of limited fiscal resources for the benefit of the citizens.

The following Report to the City Council, and more comprehensive City of Salinas PBB Process Report, will be presented at the September 9th Council meeting. The CPBB congratulates the City of Salinas staff leadership and staff for their successful implementation of PBB!
-->

REPORT TO THE CITY COUNCIL - City of Salinas, California

DATE:            September 9, 2014

FROM:           Matt N. Pressey, CPA, Finance Director

SUBJECT:      PRIORITY BASED BUDGETING – Administrative Report

RECOMMENDATION:


It is recommended that the Council accept this administrative report and identify key policy questions and areas for departments to explore further.
DISCUSSION:

During the Council meeting, Chris Fabian with the Center for Priority Based Budgeting will provide in-depth coverage of how the “Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool” can be used and he will facilitate a discussion with Council to identify key policy questions and areas Council may want departments to explore further using the Priority Based Budgeting model.  Chris will provide an overview of the types of policy questions that exist and provide samples of policy questions other agencies have come up with.

Background
With the leadership of the City Manager and City Council, staff has been working on a significant new way of allocating valuable City resources: Priority Based Budgeting.  This cutting edge trend is now a best practice and is growing in the government sector because it is helping cities, counties and other governmental agencies allocate resources to programs that matter most.

Priority Based Budgeting has been declared a leading practice for government management by the International City/County Manager’s Association (ICMA).  Priority Based Budgeting is a strategic alternative to traditional budgeting. The philosophy of priority-driven budgeting is that resources should be allocated according to how effectively a program or service meets the City Council’s goals and priorities and how effectively a program or service achieves the goals and objectives that are of greatest value to the community.

City Staff have progressed through the first four steps and are now in the final, fifth step of evaluating the model data and will begin to use the diagnostic tool.  The diagnostic tool used in the fifth step was briefly presented to the City Council at this May 6, 2014 meeting by Chris Fabian with the Center for Priority Based Budgeting. For the FY 2014-15 budget cycle, department heads were asked to review
all of the tier 4 (lowest tier) programs and consider reducing the program or eliminating the program.  For this next budget year and for the potential new revenue measure, departments will be trained on using the model to further evaluate the higher tier (1 and 2) programs and identify which programs deserve an additional allocation of resources.

The entire process has been a significant collaborative effort city wide including over 32 directors and mangers, as well as other staff, from all departments.

Priority Based Budgeting – Progress through the 5 Steps

As a reminder, there are five steps in priority based budgeting:

1. Determine “Results”
  What are the Goals and Objectives (Results) the City is in business to achieve?
2. Define Results
        “When the City does    X   , then the Result is achieved”
3. Identify Programs and Services
  Prepare a comprehensive list of programs and services
  Comparing individual programs and services as opposed to comparing departments that provide those services allows for better priority setting
4. Value Programs Based on Results
  Score the Programs based on their influence on Results
5. Allocate Resources Based on Priorities
  Using “Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool”

ISSUE:


Shall the City Council accept this administrative report and identify key policy questions and areas for departments to explore further?

FISCAL IMPACT:

There is no impact to the City’s General Fund with the Council’s acceptance of this Administrative Report.

CITY COUNCIL GOALS:


Priority Based Budgeting promotes all five of the Council Goals of 1) Economic Diversity & Prosperity; 2) Safe, Livable Community; 3) Effective Sustainable Government; 4) Excellent Infrastructure; and 5) Quality of Life.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

With the fiscal challenge of addressing the General Fund structural deficit that grows to over $12.7 million by fiscal year 2019-20, the City needs a strategic approach to allocate limited resources according to how effectively a program or service achieves the goals and objectives that are of greatest value to the community.

 

And don't forget! The Priority Based Budgeting Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool is going web-based! 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. 

We've already built the basic model, but have 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!

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.

 

 

Monday, August 18, 2014

CPBB Presents Priority Based Budgeting "Diagnostic Tool" to City of Bainbridge Island, WA City Council


The Center for Priority Based Budgeting (CPBB) is proud to partner with the City of Bainbridge Island, WA. Beginning in March 2014, City staff and the CPBB have worked hard in implementing priority based budgeting (PBB). In support of these efforts, the CPBB tonight presents the Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool to City Council

The PBB "Diagnostic Tool"is the definitive resource for identifying community priorities to strategically allocate public dollars. The CPBB wishes to congratulate the City of Bainbridge Island staff and Council in their work to support priority based budgeting. Great work!


The following is an excerpt from the City of Bainbridge Island Council Study Session agenda. To review the full Council Agenda click here.

Subject: Center for Priority Based Budgeting Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool Presentation

Action Item: The Center for Priority Based Budgeting will Present the Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool



And don't forget! The Priority Based Budgeting Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool is going web-based! 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. 

We've already built the basic model, but have 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!

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.

 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Curtain Call: The CPBB "New Wave" of Local Government (Un)Conference Recap



Thank you all so much for your support of the Center for Priority Based Budgeting and, in particular, our 2014 “New Wave” of Local Government (Un)Conference.

This year, we dove deep into A Revolution in how Community’s Leverage Resources! Leading the Way in Key "Result Areas" - Through the "new lens" of Priority Based Budgeting, communities have unveiled an entirely unique understanding regarding the "Results of Government" that define the very role of modern local government.  The answer to the question "why do we exist" has focused on several key "Result" areas most relevant for our time.  

Our goal was to have a unique event where everybody felt connected and ultimately left with unbridled enthusiasm to change the world. With attendees representing 26 states, 3 countries and two continents, having you there to participate, share your unique stories, and also learn from the innovations of other partners and implementers – it just couldn’t have struck the chord we wanted any better than that!





Thank you for adding to the experience for everybody! And hopefully you found it as exciting and valuable as we set out to accomplish.

The feedback we’ve received from those who attended has been astronomical! Here are a couple select comments:

"Just wanted to thank you again for putting this on. I don’t think that I have ever felt more connected or resonated more with the content and energy of a conference before!”

“Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of something very special this past week."

"The best gov conference I have ever attended!"



This year's conference showcased leading public and private sector innovators who are inspiring an epic REVOLUTION in local government ( You can view the full conference program here.)!
  • Redefining how to legitimately attain economic development and measurable local job creation through the use of incubators and partnerships
  • Discover new models for achieving safer communities at lesser cost
  • Explore revenue generation strategies attainable to every local government that have to date remained hidden
  • Dive into shared service models emerging to help local government redefine service levels in key public-public and public-private partnerships
  • Understand and digest the complex role of local government in long-term "sustainability"
  • Advance past "performance measurement" to reveal a new component to priority based budgeting that includes "results measurement" strategies
  • Grasp how credit rating agencies assess municipal credit ratings and how the transparent concepts of fiscal health and priority based budgeting can assist in stabilizing and improving bond and credit ratings
  • Expose your organization to the hands-on tools attainable to your community to fulfill the promise of reinventing government
  • Bring to light how to harvest the skill sets of the next generation of emerging leaders
  • Immerse yourself in the implementation strategies, shared experiences and lessons learned of the nearly 70 communities who have successfully brought the full potential of Fiscal Health and Priority Based Budgeting to their organizations 
And this year, the CPBB also unveiled another NEW online tool! Many of you are already utilizing our web-based Fiscal Health Diagnostic Tool. We've seen its diagnostic approach to achieving Fiscal Health and the development and utilization of its unique and innovative “Fiscal Health Diagnostic Tool” profoundly change the conversation between local government managers, finance professionals and elected officials.   These are but a few of the powerful ways Fiscal Health has been used to help local government leaders achieve long-term financial sustainability.


For many of you, this has been a long time coming. For those of you who are new to Priority Based Budgeting, and even veteran implementers, think BIG! Your path to realizing the promise of aligning ALL of your community's resources with the results that matter most, through the unique lens and disruptive local government innovation of Priority Based Budgeting, is about to get far easier and even more effective!

The Priority Based Budgeting Resource Alignment Diagnostic Tool is going web-based! 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. 

We've already built the basic model, but have 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 8 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!




Finally, we could not host this event without our conference partners, sponsors, and exhibitors. Please be sure to check out the following organizations online to discover the amazing and creative ways these folks are contributing to the “New Wave” of Local Government!



We are so excited for what the future holds in this “New Wave” of local government! And feel so fortunate to contribute, with you, to the ongoing success of all local government communities!


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.