Saturday, March 6, 2010

Blue Ash working to prioritize city services | ...

Blue Ash working to prioritize city services ...

Blue Ash is working with Chris Fabian and Jon Johnson to evaluate and prioritize city services as a way to assist in budgetary planning.
The course of action is intended to help focus the city's decision-making process by basing priorities on outcomes. According to Fabian and Johnson, addressing current fiscal realities while still meeting the objectives and the expectations of constituents represents the biggest challenge to every organization's long-term fiscal wellness.
Prioritization of services creates an objective and transparent decision-making process, one that ensures programs of higher value to citizens - those that achieve the organization's objectives most effectively - can be sustained through adequate funding levels regardless of the economic conditions.

This process began at the Jan. 28 council work session, led by advisors Jon Johnson and Chris Fabian. At that meeting, the prioritization process was explained, and council underwent an exercise to focus upon the city's "results" (or overall objectives/strategic goals). A summary of those results, listed in no particular order, includes the following:
* quality and diverse leisure-time activities;
* connected, accessible and reliable transportation network;
* quality and desirable neighborhoods;
* strong and vibrant economic development;
* attractive and well-maintained community;
* a safe community.

Ultimately, through prioritization, governments can determine which programs and services are the most effective use of tax revenues to attain goals. Blue Ash council and the administration see this as an additional tool in our existing efforts in planning and the budget process to enhance our decision making.
Two near future opportunities will be offered to seek direct assistance from our residents:

* A public input station will be established at the recreation center asking for resident's input as to the various goals and strategic objectives determined through the prioritization process. This station should be set up sometime the week of March 15.

* An open house will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 25, in council chambers of the Municipal & Safety Center, to give interested citizens the opportunity to learn more about this prioritization process underway. There is no formal presentation planned during this time period - just stop in at your convenience to learn more about these efforts. Residents will also have the opportunity to provide direct input/feedback related to the results.

Though not directly a part of the prioritization process, a supplemental activity in the form of a citizen survey will also be conducted. With assistance from the Institute for Policy Research of the University of Cincinnati, a formal, scientific citizen survey will take place later this month via telephone. IPR will poll approximately randomly selected 500 Blue Ash adults. Though at the writing of this newsletter the telephone questions have not yet been finalized, it is likely that most questions will be tied to the prioritization process.
Blue Ash residents are encouraged to stay tuned to for the latest information about this budget prioritization process.
Sue Bennett is Blue Ash public information officer.

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