Friday, October 7, 2011

Watch a Public Hearing on the City of Boulder's Discussion of Priority Based Budgeting

Boulder City Council Meeting - Oct 4, 2011 pt2

Question: How was Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) incorporated into the budget process
and where is this reflected in the 2012 Recommended Budget? What improvements can be
made to describe PBB results for future budget years?

Staff Response: This is the second year of implementation of PBB, an iterative process for
prioritizing city programs according to their contributions to a series of defined results
customized for the city of Boulder. The results defined for the city’s programs and services
(shown in the City Manager’s Budget Message, pages 33-35) are the following six
overarching objectives that reflect City Council and broader community priorities:
 Accessible and Connected Community
 Economically Vital Community
 Environmentally Sustainable Community
 Healthy and Socially Thriving Community
 Safe Community
 Good Governance

Through the PBB process, all city programs and services are categorized in an inventory of
programs by department. All programs then go through an internal citywide scoring
assessment, which is the classification of each PBB program into one of four quartiles, with
the first quartile indicating that a program has the highest influence on achieving the city’s
defined results, and the fourth quartile indicating the lowest level of influence.

The full list of PBB programs, and the quartiles in which they fall, are included in the City
Manager’s Budget Message section of the 2012 Recommended Budget. For each of these
programs, the Department Overviews section of the 2012 Recommended Budget, pages 105-
215, shows the budgeted direct costs and indirect costs of the department (the program

An example of this is the “Health and Wellness Programs and Services” PBB program. This
program is listed in the full PBB program list, on page 43 of the budget document, under
Quartile 4. The department associated with the program is Parks and Recreation, and this
program is listed as a budget line item in the Parks and Recreation department budget on
page 188 of the budget document. This PBB program contains, among other things,
Recreation classes that are offered to the public, such as yoga.

In the budget process leading to the 2012 Recommended Budget, PPB was updated in order
to improve internal processes and achieve greater consistency in terms of program definition,
score assessment and communication with city departments. As departments began preparing
their 2012 budgets, each department was asked to assess their budget requests and the
allocation of resources within the department budget according to PBB results. In March,
departments submitted information to the City Manager outlining the use of PBB in the
department budgeting process. A number of budget requests and issues were handled by
departments reallocating resources within their departments from lower priority to higher
priority programs.

Much of this PBB-focused assessment was done before departments submitted final budget
requests to the City Manager for review by a multi-department team. The graphs, showing
the distribution of resources across the city by quartile (page 37 of the 2012 Recommended
Budget), include these reallocations.

The City of Boulder is committed to using PBB in its budgeting process to prioritize city
programs and services and align the budget with Council and Community priorities and
values. In the process leading to the 2013 Budget, staff will continue to improve on PBB
methods to ensure that PBB is a meaningful and relevant tool in the budgeting process, with
attention to the important task of communicating budget results to the Council and

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