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Budgeting at the
Program Level

Leading local governments with new ways of thinking,
new technologies, and better budgeting practices

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"There are many reasons to consider adopting program budgeting, but perhaps the most important is its ability to create a more transparent budget. A program budget shows exactly what the government does and how much it costs.

Program budgeting is the logical choice. The problem was that our systems and tools were behind. We've been held back by the limitations in using our chart of accounts or general ledger.

It was high time that technology caught up with methodology and program budget development functionality was created. 

OnlinePBB Budgeter: Local Government Budgeting Software

Buidling program budget proposals

Build Your Program Budget Online

OnlinePBB Budgeter is the software to house and organize your budget proposal process... and it's at the program level!

Tie Your Priority Based Budgeting Data to Your Budget Proposals

impact of program budget decision

Understand the Impact

Every proposal is tied to a program and an outcome with all of the supporting PBB data

program decision package

Deliver a Full Decision Package

Support the budget deliberation process by providing context and an evaluation component

approved program budget

Move from Proposed to Approved

Each approved program request updates the supporting line items creating next year's budget

The budget is, arguably, the most important policy a local government produces. It describes how the government’s limited resources will be used and who gets those resources.

Rethink the Budget Process

Line items serve a purpose for spending control and appropriation management, but it is simply unable to perform as a resource alignment tool.

Programs put resources first and help connect your budget to your goals, your vision, and the changes your community wants to achieve. Programs answer:

  • How is this budget request related to the strategic plan?
  • Is the benefit related to our priorities?
  • What programs will be impacted?
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Budgeter Solves the Line Item Challenge

Budgeting has been done the same way for decades

Main problems with current practice:

  • Past decisions are frozen in place past the point at which they are affordable or relevant.
  • The traditional budget is not strategic - it is an incremental adjustment year over year.
  • Traditional budgeting is a “zero-sum game.”


The significant step forward is in aligning resources directly with the programs where they are needed.

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Programs are Directly Tied to Your Budget Data

The process begins and ends with the program, but the purpose of the
line item isn't lost

Your line-item data is baked into the OnlinePBB Budgeter request process by way of the Cost Allocation phase of PBB implementation. As departments build their program-based budget requests, they will interact directly with the line items allocated to those programs. 


"The budget is, basically, the center of the government universe. It's where decisions about what's important get funded."

Mike Mucha, Director of Research, GFOA

Increase Budget Transparency in the Decision-Making Process

Building a proposed budget with program data

Create budget requests at the program level with built-in cost and program data to serve as a fully built decision package. Programs increase accessibility and communicability between organizational staff and elected officials tasked with understanding requests and making decisions. 

Increase Transparency with Program Budget Requests
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"The magic happens when you're not just telling a compelling story, but you're solidifying your data in the tools and preparing next year's budget."

Communicate Funding Decisions

Communicate Funding Decisions to All Stakeholders

Demonstrate Financial and Strategic Alignment

Each programmatic budget request includes the nature of the program change and the resulting impact(s) of that change. Additionally, the recommended budget impact is described and identified in the allocated budget details of the program. The program budget request comes with both financial and strategic alignment information.

Backed by Industry Leaders

The most trusted and well-known industry leaders agree... Programs are the vehicle for change.


Distinguished Budget
Presentation Award

In an update, effective in 2021, GFOA criteria now mandate the inclusion of program descriptions and program alignment to priorities. The importance of a narrative-rich budget for transparency and decision-making is now recognized in GFOA's prestigious award.

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Credentialed Managers
and Candidates

ICMA Credentialed Managers are viewed with distinction by local governing bodies due to high standards of integrity and professional development. In 2022, Priority Based Budgeting will be a part of that program ensuring these leaders bring the programmatic knowledge and approach to their communities.

Latest posts

Check out the ResourceX Blog: We're Doing Budgeting Differently