City Council Combined Special Meeting/Work Session

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Meeting Date: 09/22/2020  
From: Sarah Langley, Management Analyst

Priority Based Budgeting Public Engagement Plan
Give feedback on the PBB Public Engagement Plan and approve staff to proceed with the deployment of the community input survey.
In May of 2019, the City of Flagstaff embarked on a journey to implement Priority Based Budgeting (or PBB). PBB is a leading best practice in municipal government budgeting and allows cities to re-envision how they utilize their budgets. Specifically, PBB enables cities to measure investments in priorities, create programmatic insights, and identify opportunities for future action. PBB also offers an array of opportunities for public engagement in the city’s budgeting process.
In order to achieve a greater public understanding of PBB and involvement in the City’s budgeting process, the PBB Project Team has drafted a 3-part plan to elicit meaningful and diverse input from Flagstaff residents.
1. The first phase of the PBB Public Engagement Plan will be comprised of animated videos that provide an educational overview of what PBB is and how it will improve the City's budgeting process. These videos will be disseminated widely to the public and will help to create a foundational knowledge of PBB within the community. Council will be able to view a clip of these videos during the Council meeting. The final videos will be completed by the end of September. 
2. Building on this foundational knowledge, the second phase of the PBB Public Engagement Plan is comprised of a community input survey intended to both inform and provide an opportunity to update the objectives under each of the seven Key Community Priorities that the Council established in September of 2019. This survey will be hosted on Community Forum and will allow residents to suggest edits to existing objectives or suggest new objectives to be added. An extensive dissemination plan has been created for the survey, including a Community Forum announcement, social media posts, an email to over 180 community organizations (the full Community Stakeholders Email Distribution List is attached to this agenda item), business license holders with an email on file, municipal billing customers with an email on file, the distribution of paper copies of the survey accompanied with stamped and addressed return envelopes and a newspaper advertisement. The survey will also be translated into Spanish.
Staff has also made edits to the objectives to reflect prominent recent events and significant Council discussions (i.e. Council’s declaration of a climate emergency, discussions on policing practices, and general considerations of equity). These edits will be detailed for Council’s approval during the meeting.
In order to prioritize the objectives, Staff first needs to launch the PBB community input survey, gather feedback from the public, and take the updated objectives back to Council for approval (scheduled for November 10). After final approval of the updated objectives, the Council can prioritize the objectives and this data can be used to further guide budgetary decision-making.  
3. Utilizing the updated objectives, the third phase of the PBB Public Engagement Plan will entail a small group of Flagstaff residents participating in the “peer review” process of PBB. This step will enable participating residents to sit alongside staff and collaboratively review, and if necessary, change, the scores of each City program. These scores make up the dataset used to prioritize the City’s programs and services rendered to the community.
It is envisioned that the PBB Public Engagement Plan, comprised of the three phases specified above, will provide Flagstaff residents with multiple avenues for education on and participation in the City’s budgeting process. PBB is also part of a longer journey to Higher Performing Governance. After the implementation of PBB, City leadership envisions creating a strategic plan and continue to expand the use of the PBB tool in the alignment of budgeted dollars with Key Community Priorities and Objectives.
  • At the January 16, 2019, Council Budget Retreat, staff presented the topic of High Performing Government. This included consideration for changing budget processes to a priority-based system. 
  • At the April 2019 Council Budget Retreat, staff presented a budget which included funding for Priority Based Budgeting.
  • At the May 2019 Council Meeting, Council approved the Sole Source License and Host Agreement with Resource Exploration, LLC for Priority Based Budgeting.
  • At the September 2019 Council Retreat, Council provided input on the PBB Priorities and Objectives.
  • At the October 2019 Council Meeting, Council provided further input on the PBB Priorities and Objectives and agreed upon a final version.
  • At the December 2019 Council Meeting, Council heard an update on the progress of implementing PBB, specifically focusing on the Program Inventory and Program Costing phases.
  • At the January 2020 Council Meeting, Council heard an update on the progress of implementing PBB, specifically focusing on the Program Scoring phase.
  • At the February 2020 Budget Retreat, Council heard an overview of the online PBB tools that would be available for future use in analyzing Flagstaff’s PBB data.
  • At the August 2020 Council Meeting, Council heard an initial overview of the PBB Public Engagement Plan.
Community Stakeholders Email Distribution List
Council Approved Priorities & Objectives


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