Government Structure and Procedures - City Budget and Priority Setting Process

Government Structure and Procedures - City Budget and Priority Setting Process

Recognizing that a properly developed budget not only reflects the activities, goals, and aspirations of an organization but is the very tool used to implement the planned accomplishments, the League of Women Voters of Beloit recommends that the City of Beloit use its budget planning process to reflect and achieve the city's goals. To this end, the League recommends a formalization of the process of long-range strategic planning for the city of Beloit through the development of a mission statement, goals, and objectives. This planning process should incorporate an assessment of the city's strengths and weaknesses and an analysis of the opportunities and threats facing the city. The framework thus developed must be reflected in the annual budgets to ensure that progress will be made toward achieving the city's mission and goals. Any long-range planning must be evaluated and revised as necessary; therefore, ongoing analysis and review of actual progress is required. Strategic planning should affect all areas of city government fiscal activity.

The LWV of Beloit recommends:

  • the formation of a special committee charged specifically with the responsibility of developing both long and short-range goals and objectives for the city of Beloit.
  • Committee members should represent a broad spectrum of community interests.
  • The committee should seek input from the city council, city manager, representatives from city offices and community members in developing an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the city of Beloit.
  • A mission statement providing direction for the city of Beloit should be established on the basis of the completed assessment.
  • Goals for the development of Beloit over a period of no less than ten years should be established from the mission statement and adopted by the council.
  • The list of goals and objectives should be revised and updated annually by the special committee.

The LWV of Beloit recommends:

  • the use of long and short-range goals and objectives for the city of Beloit as a basis for the development of the city budget.
  • on the basis of the long-range priorities each department of city government should develop departmental goals and annual objectives subject to review and approval by the city manager.
  • these departmental goals and annual objectives should justify departmental requests.
  • the special committee should annually review the city budget prior to its passage to determine if spending priorities are tied directly to the goals and objectives of the city.
  • justification of budgeted expenditures by evaluation of services provided rather than total dollars spent or saved.
  • quarterly review by the administration of actual expenditures in comparison to the adopted budget to be publicly discussed during a regular council meeting.
  • quarterly public review of the General Fund balance to determine its adequacy.
  • prompt response to the recommendations of authorized or commissioned studies by including in each study a timetable for prompt public review of its recommendations and ongoing assessment of implementation.

The LWV of Beloit endorses:

  • the Capital Improvements Program format and process of development as initiated in 1986 with the inclusion of the following recommendations:
  • inclusion of the full five-year capital program of estimated expenditures so that long-range needs can be examined and appropriate fiscal policies developed.
  • inclusion in the Capital Improvements Program budget report of the balance remaining from prior years' appropriations.
  • annual review of the proposed Capital Improvements Program budget by a citizens' committee, such as the City Plan Commission.
  • approval of the Capital Improvements Program prior to development of the operating budget so that administrative and operating costs implementing the capital improvements can be budgeted and so that the Capital Improvement Program sums can be incorporated into the operating budget for a comprehensive understanding of total expenditures during the coming year.
  • incorporating criteria into the point rating system which provides justification of proposed expenditures on the basis of the city's goals and objectives.

The LWV of Beloit supports:

  • efforts to encourage input from citizens in the budget development process by such actions as:
  • timely publication and public distribution of the budget preparation schedules for the operating budget and the Capital Improvements Program.
  • development of a mailing list of citizen groups who would receive the operating budget and Capital Improvement Program preparation schedules, a summary list of proposed expenditures, and a clear explanation of how citizens can provide input into the budget development process. These documents should be available to any citizen who requests them.
  • scheduling the operating budget hearing no later than the first two weeks of November and early presentation of the budget to the council so there is adequate time for public review prior to adoption.

DEFINITIONS: Mission Statement: broad philosophical sentence i.e., "provide the best service at the least cost to the customer" Goals: narrower statement i.e., "ensure that service staff is well trained" Objectives: measurable i.e., "each staff member will have a minimum of 60 hours of training per year" and/or "staff members who are not certified will obtain the appropriate license within 6 months of their date of hire"

    • (1986 - Bloedorn, Hansen, Metter, Pineles, Schoenfield, Williams)
Issues: 
League to which this content belongs: 
Beloit