City of Toledo, OH Launches the Nation’s First Open PBB Data Citizen Portal!

"Priority based budgeting data will help city officials lower costs and deliver better services." - City of Toledo City Council President Steven Steel

The City of Toledo is now the 3rd municipality in Ohio to implement priority based budgeting, joining the City of Cincinnati and the City of Blue Ash in this innovative approach to ensuring a city’s long-term financial sustainability and will ultimately allow the City of Toledo to also serve its residents in the most effective, efficient and fiscally responsible manner possible.

What is extremely unique about this venture is that this project was made possible with partnership and financial assistance from the Toledo Regional Chamber. This represents the very first P3 (public-private partnership) priority based budgeting project in North America!

And now the City of Toledo is the first city ever to launch the Open PBB Data Citizen Portal. Toledo is committed to sharing city data with the public to increase transparency, accountability and customer service and to empower companies, individuals and non-profit organizations with the ability to harness a vast array of useful information to improve life in the city. Toledo Open PBB Data is specifically designed to transparently share all the city’s priority based budgeting data with citizens. Toledo Open PBB Data will:

  • Translates the city’s line-item budget into a program budget

  • Reveals the prioritization of every program in the city budget

  • Show exactly how much it costs the city to deliver every program (service)

  • Demonstrate exactly how much city staff support is required to deliver every program (service)

  • Exhibit the relevance of each program (service) in relation to community results

  • Show if a program is mandated (by Federal, State or local government) to be delivered

  • Demo if the city is a sole provider of a program or if others (public or private entity) are delivering similar programs

  • Present the level of reliance on the city citizens have for program delivery

  • Reveal program level revenue and if fee-based programs pay for themselves

  • Demonstrate the level in which every single city program impacts community results

Open PBB Data is the premier open data site in the nation. Never before has a city shared such comprehensive program level data with their citizens. With Toledo Open PBB Data citizens will be able to:

  • Obtain a thorough understanding of all the programs the city delivers, what it costs to deliver programs, and understand whether the programs contribute to community results

  • Understand exactly what programs are funded through tax dollars

  • Evaluate and analyze how city programs impact community results

  • Communicate with the city to evolve the prioritization of programs

  • Toledo business owners and other public entities will have an opportunity to evaluate all the city programs to determine where partnership opportunities exist

Implications for a new Kind of Public / Private Participation

The “network” of leaders in any region are the key to propelling our communities into a brighter future. In order for local government to move beyond the already monumental challenges of balancing the budget with existing services, partnerships between our local governments and the public and private sector are among our best tools to free up the substantial resources required to tackle the challenges of building the future.

With the release of OpenPBBData, a new level of partnership is possible. The City is working together with the Toledo of Chamber of Commerce to review every program in their inventory to determine where Public/Private partnerships could make sense – in a $400m operating budget they’ve identified $18m+ in private sector partnership opportunities, and $83m+ in public sector shared service opportunities. The goal is not to simply seek privatization, but to free up human and financial resources to start a vast array of entirely new services. It’s inspiring as it’s such a departure from the sometimes divisive rhetoric related to “outsourcing”, and instead very calculated and methodical approach to leveraging partners to free up internal resources and redirect them for new programs.

The concept is quite simple: how can we discover and partner with other organizations in our community who are pursuing the same societal objectives are we are? Can we leverage their efforts, programs and services to tackle the challenges we seek to address in our community? And can we discover opportunities to not only partner but merge and consolidate services, thereby freeing up our own staff and money to reallocate elsewhere?

Eric Keck, City Manager of Englewood, Colorado, has successfully created several partnerships in the City, due to their leadership in exploring program data and sharing it. Says Keck, “I think it’s really interesting to realize that most cities don’t know what their private sector businesses actually do. And that most from the private sector don’t know exactly what the City offers, and therefore don’t know where partnership opportunities could be developed/cultivated - PBB is an agent for identifying who does what, and where partnerships could occur.”

Congratulations to the City of Toledo for their leadership in opening up PBB data for citizens. This is an enormous step in the use of PBB data to test new solutions!

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