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City of Duluth, MN Takes PBB to the People!

August 2, 2018

"Participants were asked to place their $1,000 tax money in the priority tubes they’d like to see

the City spend the money on.  We tallied the coins in all the tubes to find, with over 500 citizen participants, that people placed most tax money in Infrastructure, followed by Safe and Secure Community, and Livable Neighborhoods and Affordable Housing."

 

The City of Duluth, Minnesota is the first city in Minnesota to implement Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) and successfully begin taking action on their data.

 

Jennifer Carlson, Budget Manager, and Wayne Parson, CFO, led the City’s Project implementation which launched in December 2017, and included community participation on the prioritization of Results and Result Definitions.

 

Duluth’s implementation launched with an on-site “PBB Boot Camp” interactive kick-off, as department heads scoured the PBB data-mine to select programs offered by the City from the examples of PBB implementers who had gone before.

 

 

With Duluth’s contribution of it’s program inventory, the PBB data-mine includes program-level detail from every one of the 200+ organizations who have implemented PBB, including: each and every service they provide ("snow removal," "animal control," "police patrol", "street sweeping" etc), the costs and workforce dedicated to each service, the measurable influence (or lack thereof) of each service on societal goals (safer cities, local economic vitality, environmental sustainability, etc), and other key attributes for every service (is the service provided by another entity, is it mandated, does it recover costs through grants or fees, etc). 

 

Currently, the PBB data-mine and the lens of PBB currently scans across:

 

  • 208 unique client priority-based budgets from our implementing organizations

  • 125,014 individual local government programs, each with cost (and revenue), service level, workforce, and key program attributes

  • $34.7 billion in program costs tracked at the service level

 

Taking PBB to the Streets

 

 

Duluth hosted its annual Sidewalk Days festival July 11-13.  During the Sidewalk Days festival, the City closed down a few blocks of Superior Street and lined the street with shopping, mouth-watering food, a car show, and fun for kids.  

 

 

The City of Duluth hosted a booth on Superior Street which highlighted PBB.  Super Users, Jen Carlson and Wayne Parson, created a PBB game where participants were given 10 shiny coins worth $1,000 in tax money to allocate.  

 

 

On a table, they had a board with tubes labeled with the City’s priorities of:

 

 

Infrastructure

Livable Neighborhoods and Affordable Housing

Dynamic and Diverse Economy

Culture and Recreation

Green Space and Energy Conservation

Safe and Secure Community

 

Participants were asked to place their $1,000 tax money in the priority tubes they’d like to see

the City spend the money on.  City staff then tallied the coins in all the tubes to find people placed most tax money in Infrastructure, followed by Safe and Secure Community, and Livable Neighborhoods and Affordable Housing.  

 

 

Comments from participants were: “there are too many choices and not enough coins” and “this is such a cool idea!” One mom commented that the money game was the highlight of her kids’ sidewalk days!


 

With over 500 participants, Duluth brought PBB to the People!  
 

 

 

 
 

Priority Based Budgeting in Duluth, MN

 

In addition to Duluth's "Sidewalk Days" PBB demonstration, the City also recently compiled an easy-to-read overview of concepts, principles, values and opportunities that priority based budgeting brings to the community and citizens. 

 

Click here to view the full "PBB in Duluth, MN" infographic!

 

 

 

Congratulations to City of Duluth on their creative dedication in bringing PBB to the people!

 

To discover how other PBB partners apply PBB visit our PBB Community Index page!

 

 

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