Tuesday, September 14, 2010

City of Monterey Launches Extensive Public Engagement Process to Continue their Work in Priority Based Budgeting


The City of Monterey is changing the way its annual budget is developed, so programs are transparent and linked to results, and citizens help set priorities. The process is called Priority-based Budgeting and it recasts the budget into programs instead of line items. Citizens are asked to define broad goals, such as quality of life, and then prioritize how they want their tax dollars spent to achieve those goals.

Public meetings will be held in October and November to gather citizen input. The first public meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 6 from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. at the Monterey Conference Center. At that session, citizens will be briefed about the priority based budgeting process and will help refine the goals articulated by the City Council as a series of Value Drivers. A second round of public meetings will be held the week of November 8 – 12. At those sessions, citizens will be given an imaginary $500 to spend on the goals they believe are most important.

The public sessions will be facilitated by two nationally recognized consultants, Chris Fabian and Jon Johnson, who have developed a pioneering budget model that is being used in 16 other cities nationwide, including Walnut Creek, CA and Boulder, CO.

During the past year, City departments re-defined their line item budgets into programs and ranked each program based on the City Council’s value drivers, state and federal government mandates, service demands and revenues. City departments will reassess those rankings after the public input is gathered this fall.

The City will then develop its draft budget and hold another public meeting next spring to explain how the public helped shaped the priorities in the budget. A final budget will be submitted to the City Council for approval next June following at least two public hearings.
In 2007, the City Council adopted seven Value Drivers, which are: working to improve the quality of life of our citizens; ensuring a level of economic vitality sufficient to support our quality of life and municipal infrastructure needs; providing sufficient resources and support to develop and retain a high quality work force; ensuring an adequate water supply for the City; providing the City of Monterey with multiple modes of transportation that are safe, efficient and effective; appropriately preserve, promote and maintain our historic, cultural and environmental assets; and maintain and expand an environment that solicits, welcomes and appreciates input from all.

This new priority-based budgeting approach will seek to prioritize and align all City programs with these values.

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