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Building Your Budget for the Bigger Picture

Priority Based Budgeting enables local governments to ACCELERATE IMPACT 

21st Century Budget Transformation to Accelerate Impact

The next chapter in budget transformation in support of Climate, Equity, Resilience, and Fiscal Sustainability.


Budgeting for Climate

Governments must continually juggle multiple issues of immediate importance. Resource scarcity and organizational constraints make it difficult to address "new" issues such as Climate Action. But local governments don't have the luxury of not preparing. They have the unique opportunity to prepare their communities for the impacts of climate change. At the local government level, resources and opportunities exist, but they must be reviewed and prioritized for action. Local governments know their communities and their citizens and can create climate action plans customized for the specific circumstances of their communities.

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“Changing budgeting procedures can feel like an enormous task,” explains Climate Advisor Will Bernstein. “But in the end, the created tools actually streamlined work while simultaneously making budget decisions clearer for the mayor’s office.”

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Budgeting for Equity

Disparities exist in every community. Government leaders and staff are in the position to use data and evidence to determine what they are and how to reduce them. Applying an equity lens to PBB data, one of the most surprising realizations is that each and every program offered has an opportunity to be transformed, reimagined, and evolved to increase equity.

The true definition of local government success is the ability to deliver programs and services equitably and fairly to every citizen in the community. By establishing a clear equity mission and goals, adjusting existing programs and starting new programs to meet equity goals, and solidifying funding for these equity-focused programs within the budget, local governments will enter a new era of citizen-focused governance with an equity focus. 

"When there is an influx of additional resources, it can be a reflex to just re-fund services that your organization previously offered - but, in that environment, we're not innovating. ResourceX provides a thoughtful, engaging method of thinking beyond 'the way we've always done it.'"

Budgeting for Resilience

Planning for potential disasters or systemic inefficiencies can be expensive and unpopular. But if we've learned anything from COVID-19 and the string of natural disasters from fires to floods to earthquakes, sustaining and responding to them can be equally tricky and politically taxing. We have to be prepared to survive, adapt and grow.

Local economies are dealing with significant uncertainties with needs risings and revenues declining. With significant program cuts and staff furloughs and lay-offs, a shift in how the budget is managed is necessary. Local governments are reimagining their budgets with resiliency in mind while still recovering from significant shortfalls. 

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"We needed a methodology to prioritize and be compliant. In working with ResourceX, we said, What do we really need to do? This has been an incredible tool. It has been standardized and easy to refer back to. It is a community-driven ARPA process to meet the needs of the recovery from COVID."

Fiscal Sustainability

Budgeting for Fiscal Sustainability

Sudden revenue decline and increased costs left local governments looking for ways to close budget gaps. Federal funds are certainly a welcome support, but are one-time in nature. Program budgeting positions local governments to have the data necessary to make difficult budget decisions while understanding the impact those decisions will have on the services they provide.

With continued economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and no plausible future ahead where local government has all of the resources it needs to fund a better future, resource reallocation is a pivotal strategy we need to see mastered. We need to make this magnitude of reallocation ordinary and regularly achievable, proving the possible probable.

Priority Based Budgeting creates community alignment in Duluth, Minnesota.

Learn more about developing program data.

Build the data necessary to communicate the services you provide, the cost of delivering them, and how they align with your community's vision.