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City of Lawrence Launches Open PBB Data: Advancing Program Level Data + Evidence to Achieve Communit

, , | May 6, 2019 | By

"In 2018, Lawrence implemented Priority Based Budgeting (PBB), an approach to budgeting that assesses the desired results of a community against the programs the government is currently offering and how impactful those programs are in achieving the desired outcomes."

The City of Lawrence, KS is now the fourth city to launch Open PBB Data. Lawrence is committed to sharing city data with the public to increase transparency, accountability and customer service, and empower citizens with the ability to harness a vast array of useful information to improve life in the city. Lawrence Open PBB Data is specifically designed to transparently share all the city's priority based budgeting data with citizens.

About Lawrence Priority Based Budgeting

The City of Lawrence, Kansas is currently developing their budget for the 2020 fiscal year. The City is determined to create long-term stability is evaluating how resources are used, and how those uses align with the priorities of the community.

In 2018, Lawrence implemented Priority Based Budgeting (PBB), an approach to budgeting that assesses the desired results of a community against the programs the government is currently offering and how impactful those programs are in achieving the desired outcomes.

Unlike the traditional incremental approach to government budgeting, where the current years budget becomes the basis for the next years spending plan, PBB allows communities, such as Lawrence, to understand their core values and then budget according to these values.

The underlying principles of the PBB framework is to question past patterns of spending and instead to prioritize resources to achieve longterm strategic goals of the community. PBB also lets organizations know the true cost of providing services and enhances transparency and accountability within the budgeting process.

The 2020 budget process is guided by the City Commission’s strategic plan which contains seven critical success factors:

  • Effective Governance & Professional Administration

  • Safe, Healthy & Welcoming Neighborhoods

  • Innovative Infrastructure & Asset Management

  • Commitment to Core Services

  • Sound Fiscal Stewardship

  • Collaborative Solutions

  • Economic Growth and Security

Open PBB Data

In addition to the critical success factors, the City Commission identified eight priority initiatives. One of which was to develop a plan to implement priority based budgeting (PBB) and enhance communication in the annual budget process. Open PBB Data was launched in an effort to meet these priority initiatives.

Through this Open PBB Data set, the community will now have the opportunity to:

  • 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

The visualization above reflects the cost of our services, and how they align with our strategic goals for the community.

Open PBB Data is the premier open data site in the nation. Never before have cities had the ability to share such comprehensive program level data with their citizens.

With Lawrence 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

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

Click here to explore Lawrence Open PBB Data and here for more information on the city's current budget and a step-by-step guide on how to use the PBB Data site.

Next Steps

In Lawrence, the evolution of priority based budgeting has evolved from "implementing PBB" to "applying PBB data for meaningful data-driven impact". To this end, the city has developed a series of analysis to take action on the data through the development of four policy questions. These include:

Are we over-providing to high mandate programs with low alignment to our priorities?

Are we over-providing to self-mandated or non-mandate programs with low alignment to our priorities?

Are there others in the community who can provide this service?

What is the impact of this program?

4 Levels of Budget Mastery

"By freeing up our staff, our time, and our dollars from investments less aligned with our goals, we can redirect vast amounts of resources, and pour energy towards those programs that are already highly aligned with community goals and new programs we need to start to achieve the Results of tomorrow."

Through the 4 Levels of (PBB) Budget Mastery, Lawrence has completed step 1 through their implementation of priority based budgeting.

Level 1

Ability to Create a Balanced, Stable and Sustainable Budget

PBB was first invented as a means to balance the budget in a rational way, founded on the Results that define the purpose of our organization, and the alignment of resources (or lack thereof) towards those ends.

Our line-item budget, while an important accounting tool, is insufficient to understand if our spending is aligned with creating safer communities, healthier citizens, flourishing and inclusive economies, enabling and well-maintained infrastructure and the foundational results of society.

The fundamental breakthrough was taking each dollar we’re entrusted with, understanding how each dollar is tied to the programs we provide, and connecting those programs with the Results they influence.

Level 2

Ability to Prioritize Spending, Free Up and Re-allocate Resources from Within

Resource optimization depends on knowing what you do (programs), how much it costs you to do what you do (program costs), and the relevance of the programs you provide (program priorities). Prioritizing programs allows your organization to realize where resources can be reallocated to optimize the achievement of Results.

And as Lawrence evaluates PBB data through the policy questions (above), the city is on a perfect path to complete Level 2 in support of the development of their 2020 budget.

For more information watch this video overview of the 4 Levels of PBB Budget Mastery.

Great work City of Lawrence, KS on becoming the fourth PBB community to launch Open PBB Data and continuing to apply PBB data for data-driven decision making!