Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Priority Based Budgeting in Fairfield Profiled by Strong Cities Strong State


Priority Based Budgeting
    At the beginning of 2011, the Fairfield City Council established one goal – fix the budget. The City faced an unprecedented budget deficit - $7 million. Twenty-six million dollars had already been cut from its General Fund budget (a reduction of 31%) by reorganizing the workforce, layoffs, eliminating vacant positions, compensation cuts resulting in City facilities being closed one day each week, drawing on reserves, and the sale of surplus property.
    Cuts of this magnitude risk the elimination of entire programs. Before undertaking cuts of such impact on services and employees, the City looked to a new method of allocating resources -- Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) -- to guide the setting of its financial priorities. This process provided the framework for almost 300 programs and services to be evaluated and ranked by staff.

    In the PBB process, employees described the extent to which the City’s programs are mandated, the level of demand and cost recovery, and the extent to which there are alternatives for the City to obtain a service. Employees also scored the City’s program and services against the City’s four priority results – prosperous local economy; quality, family-oriented community; reliable, well-maintained infrastructure; and safe community – to determine their level of influence. These results were developed through input from a series of employee, community, and council meetings. Then teams of City staff performed a rigorous peer review process of how each department had scored their programs.
    City staff then went back to the community and obtained feedback from more than 1,300 residents, businesses, and employees on how they would distribute the City’s resources across the four results. In this part of the process, Fairfield added an online forum for community input – the City has retained this component for ongoing feedback.
    Results from the surveys and the City’s programs and services evaluation were merged to develop a Priority Based Budgeting model, and an array of programs and services that was divided into quartiles to assist decision makers in developing budget recommendations.
    Fairfield’s budget deficit was ultimately addressed by applying public input, experience, judgment, and best practice. The community demonstrated that resources should be allocated in a balanced way, with a preference for those programs and services that promote a safe community.
    To read more, see here.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment