Thursday, September 1, 2016

City of Boulder, CO Integrates PBB into Budget as the "Framework within which all Budget Decisions are Made!"

"Now integrated into its seventh consecutive year of budget development, PBB is the framework within which all budget decisions are made."

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 2017 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 2017 Recommended Budget (with a focus on Strategies and Priorities on pages 54 - 67).

Purpose of PBB

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.

Priority Based Budgeting (PBB)

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 on these goals of 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 sustainability and allows the city of Boulder to serve its residents in the most effective, efficient and fiscally responsible manner possible.

2017 PBB Outcomes

Now integrated into its seventh 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 done 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 priority programs, with the goal of an increased impact on achieving the PBB identified results. As a result, the 2017 PBB process was able to maintain the quartile information previously identified and the 2017 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 (Quartile 4) programs. Fewer resources are invested in programs yielding lower impact on community values. A listing of all 2017 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.

Figure 2-02 shows the distribution of the 2017 budget and budget additions by Quartile. The largest amount of new or reallocated investment is in Quartile 2, with a lesser amount of investment in Quartiles 1 and 3. 

Another way to look at the resource shifts achieved by using PBB in the budgeting process is shown in Table 2-01 below.The most significant increase occurred in quartile 2 with a 9.8% increase over 2016. The majority of this increase is due to increases in DET and impact fees capital development, cost allocation and arts funding in the Library, and general increases due to the Affordable Care Act and living wage in both Parks and Recreation and OSMP. There are also quartile 2 program increases in Police for code enforcement, general investigations and major crimes units.

Final program scores created four quartiles. The highest rated programs are in Quartile 1.
Figures 2-03 through 2-05 below demonstrate that the city’s budget represents an allocation of greater financial resources to programs identified as highly influential in achieving city results (Quartiles 1 and 2). Priority Based Budgeting provides the City with an additional tool to identify efficiencies and ensure that the city provides priority services to residents and businesses.

To find out more about the City of Boulder 2017 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.