Monday, August 31, 2015

City of Boulder, CO Depends on PBB as the "Cornerstone of the City's Budget Process."

"Now integrated into its sixth consecutive year of budget development, PBB is the framework within which all budget decisions are made." - City of Boulder, CO Recommended Budget

The City of Boulder, Colorado is one of the fiercest proponents of priority based budgeting (PBB) in the nation. They deeply and fundamentally understand how to implement and utilize PBB, and their community has benefited tremendously from the city's continued and evolved implementation of PBB.

Boulder has recently published their 2016 Recommended Budget. Not only has the city produced yet another thoughtful, comprehensive annual budget plan that will continue to lead the community down the path to long-term fiscal health, but the budget is strategically developed to provide the highest level of responsible, efficient service delivery to their citizens (and community).

For those in local government, service delivery and strategic fiscal planning doesn't get much better than this folks. To recognize Boulder's ongoing PBB success and commitment to excellence in resource allocation to achieve community results, we've provided a quick window of content (below) into how Boulder utilizes "PBB as the framework within which all budget decisions are made." And for a much deeper dive, please see the full City of Boulder 2016 Recommended Budget (with a focus on Strategies and Priorities on pages 31-48).

Purpose of Priority Based Budgeting

Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) builds on the city's prior Business Plan, which separates goals and actions into near term versus long term time frames. PBB harnesses the policies and values of the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan and department strategic and master plans. As the cornerstone of the city's budget process, PBB gives the city three central benefits:
  • Identifies key Council and community goals (see the next section on PBB results and attributes)
  • Evaluates the impact of these goals on city programs and services
  • Provides a tool for strategic decision-making in funding, adding and/or eliminating programs and services, making more effective use of the city's limited resources.
PBB contributes to the city's long-term financial stability and allows the City of Boulder to serve its residents in the most effective, efficient and fiscally responsible manner possible.

2016 PBB Outcomes 

Now integrated into its sixth consecutive year of budget development, PBB is the framework within which all budget decisions are made. In the 2015 budget process, the city engaged in a streamlined PBB process, recognizing the significant work that had been completed in prior years, as well as the demands on staff related to flood recovery and the implementation of an Integrated Finance and Human Resources business solutions software package. The 2014 budget invested primarily in enhancing existing high PBB programs, with the goal of an increased impact on achieving the PBB identified results. As a result, the 2016 PBB process was able to maintain the quartile information previously identified and the 2016 budget process focused on continued investment in high quartile programs and services, reflecting community priorities.

The city continues to have a favorable distribution of resources between the highest priority (Quartile 1) and lowest priority programs (Quartile 4). Fewer resources are invested in community programs yielding lower impact on community values. A listing of all 2016 community programs by quartile is included in the following section. Community programs are those providing direct service to residents and businesses, while governance programs are those providing support services within the city to other departments.

This figure shows the distribution of the 2016 budget and budget additions by Quartile. The largest amount of investment is in Quartile 3, with a lesser amount of investment in Quartile 2.

Another way to look at the resource shifts achieved by using PBB in the budgeting process is shown in the table below. The share of resources between the quartiles changed very little between 2015 and 2016 with slight decreases in Quartiles 1 and 4. Overall, funding did increase in Quartile 1, but not in proportion to Quartiles 2 and 3. Funding actually decreased slightly in Quartile 4 programs.

To find out more about the City of Boulder 2016 Recommended Budget, including how the city utilizes PBB to score programs against a series of results and attributes (to determine funding levels, in addition to the scoring criteria,) click here.

Congratulations again to the City of Boulder, CO! We at the CPBB applaud your continued unique approach to implementing PBB year after year. And the results you have achieved are extraordinary!

To read more case studies about the evolution of CPBB partnership with the City of Boulder, and the incredible results the city has achieved, see below.

City of Boulder, CO Budget Built Upon Priority Based Budgeting

High Five to Boulder, CO! City Unveils 2015 Budget Built Upon Fifth Straight Year of PBB!

Keep an eye on the CPBB blog for further updates. Sign-up for our social media pages so you stay connected with TEAM CPBB!

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.