Sept. 14, 2019

Mallory Herrmann

The Lee’s Summit city council’s finance and budget committee got another look at the Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) tool the city will begin using this year. At the committee’s Sept. 9 session, Management Analyst Chris Clubine outlined next steps for using the budgetary tool.

The city council has been looking forward to this tool since an August 2018 presentation from Chris Fabian of Center for Priority Based Budgeting, who talked of the successes that other communities nationwide has seen after implementing the tool. Fabian had said that this tool could be particularly useful for a community considering a new recreation center or a small business incubator – two initiatives high on the city’s list of future hopefuls.

The program helps cities closely assess the services and programming they provide citizens – and helps them decide whether that funding makes sense.

By determining how the city’s budget is allocated compared to the strategic vision, programs are grouped in quartiles – with Q1 programs being the most closely aligned with city goals and values and Q4 programs being the least aligned.

With this scoring, city staff and councilmembers can make decisions to better align the budget to goals outlined in the strategic plan, citizen survey and business plan.

Steve Arbo, city manager, reiterated that this process isn’t focused on whether or not to cut a specific line item in the budget but to measure how well the city is doing in budgeting toward their long-term goals and to find more impactful ways to use their resources.

Arbo said that staff will begin assessing the city’s current budget to give the committee and the full council a baseline snapshot of how well the budget is aligned, adding that it will likely take three to four years of engaging in this process before they’re able to really move the needle.

Councilmembers Bob Johnson, Diane Forte and Trish Carlyle were present for the committee meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Beto Lopez was absent.