Yay for outcome-based budgeting

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The city’s $4.1 billion budget, classified by “strategic outcome”

There are a lot of theories as to why City Council, for the first time in recent memory, took less than one day to get a budget passed. Here are a few:

  1. We had more money this year and therefore fewer painful decisions to make
  2. The implementation of new “outcome-based” budgeting model that shifted focus from funding departments to funding issues
  3. Spencer Cronk and his staff knew how to craft a budget that Council would accept
  4. For the first time ever, the budget was presented as one document instead of two. No joke.

I think all of those theories have merit. I will admit that I have begun to warm up to the notion of “strategic outcomes” serving as a guiding light for all city policy, particularly when it comes to budgeting. At the beginning, I thought it was just a hokey way to classify every existing city program under some lofty principle, including something as vague as “government that works.”

However, when you consider that addressing some issues –– homelessness, for instance –– often involve multiple departments, it makes sense to budget to look at how to approach the problem by considering all of the resources at the city’s disposal. The more that the budget is fragmented and thought of as allocations to different departments, the harder it is to do that.

Here’s the budget, if you want to take a look at it.


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