Mayor Chris Beutler today released a prioritized list of 244 City programs developed through the "Taking Charge" outcome-based budgeting process. And he encouraged residents to look at the list on the City website at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: taking charge) and give him their input.
"This important piece of the Taking Charge effort will have a major impact on the 2010-2011 budget," Mayor Beutler said. "The City's programs are listed in order based on their importance in achieving our goals. In preparing the proposed budget, we start at the top of the list and keep funding until that funding is depleted. What that means is the programs prioritized at the bottom of the list are less likely to be funded when the budget is tight."
The Mayor said the goal of outcome-based budgeting is to match funding with the public's priorities. The prioritized program list was developed from public meetings, where residents discussed the City's goals as well as the performance indicators that measure progress. The City website also lists those performance indicators. "The indicators tell us whether we are meeting our goals for the type of community we want to be," Beutler said. "They help us shape a budget to reach those goals."
The Mayor said the presentation of the prioritized list and performance indicators is "unprecedented." He said the public has access to the same information he is using to shape the City budget he will release July 12th.
"With outcome-based budgeting, we have moved beyond using the previous year's budget as a starting point," Beutler said. "We have moved beyond the days when City Hall gave you a budget without explanation on how we got there. The Taking Charge program prioritization is the most transparent means possible to help citizens shape, view and understand our budget choices."
In his first three budgets, Mayor Beutler cut millions of dollars in spending and nearly 10 percent of the non-public safety workforce. He said the City has reached a point at which additional large cuts to services would damage the community's future.
"The program prioritization list is a great tool to assess what Lincoln stands to gain or lose as we debate the 2010-2011 budget," he said. "Taking Charge is all about developing consensus around a set of priorities for this community. It's based on a simple philosophy – when we establish where we are going, we can build a budget to get us there."