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priority based budgeting

Budget 2019: Savings and Re-aligments

Budget 2019: Savings and Re-aligments

I don't think it is often possible for an organisation to do more in some service areas while also cutting taxes. And it certainly shouldn't be expected to happen year-over-year. Eventually you get to a point where you at least need to raise taxes enough to keep up with inflation.

That being said, I think there are significant opportunities before us this year…

In this blog post I’ll talk about the expense side of our balance sheet. I will discuss how the City is working to both find savings and to better target spending.

Help me with my homework [again]! Descriptions of a successful community.

Council is undergoing a strategic planning process. I am excited for it because of the Priority Based Budgeting system we are adopting for 2019. This budget method will mean that our strategic plan will impact spending in very big and very direct ways.

Our strategic plan will have very high level objectives that Council wants the City to pursue. These objectives will encompass what we think it means for Grande Prairie to be a successful community. Attached to each objective will be descriptors of what meeting each objective entails.

We'll be able to express our strategic plan using a table like this- the top row is objectives another city adopted, the following rows are how it described them.


Every City program is going to be evaluated using the strategic tool we develop. It will be given a score based on what descriptors it contributes to. Then its funding will be tied to the score it receives. That means that the objectives and descriptors we select are going to have a very large impact on how the City is run. So I'd love to hear your input!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about our work in coming up with objectives. Council submitted individual ideas and then discussed them as a group. A few category themes emerged. For now, our objectives are leaning towards the following categories:

  • Community
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Infrastructure
  • Safety
  • Service
  • Governance

Now we are being asked to brainstorm descriptors to go along with these category themes.

I don't know the exact process our facilitators have in mind. But I know that this is going to be an iterative process. We'll take a look at the descriptors Councillors come up with, let those shape the objectives we select, then use our objectives to select the final list of descriptors. Nothing is set in stone (or even soft clay) yet. We are still just brainstorming ideas and possibilities.

As we do that, I'd love to have your ideas to mull over.

What does it look like for us to be meeting objectives coming out of the above categories? If we are building a strong community or economy, how would you describe that? If we were proactively planning and caring for our environment and infrastructure, how would you describe that? How would you describe what it looks like to deliver good service and governance?

Feel free to leave a comment, reply on Facebook, send me an email, or give me a call. However, the best tool to share your ideas is through this Google Sheet.

Along the bottom is a series of tabs- one for each category. Click on the categories which interest you. In Column A, write a few descriptors you think are important in this category. If someone already wrote one you support, put an "x" next to it in column B.

TIP: there might be a category you feel is important but got missed. I'd encourage you to work it into descriptors for a few categories. For example, I feel that regional thinking is vitally important. But it hasn't been selected as a category (for now). So I am going to make sure some aspect of regional thinking works its way into a number of descriptors I end up submitting. The above categories are not set in stone, but they are what we are working with for now. However, they may change if we see another theme emerge in the descriptors.

I'll be reading your thoughts over the weekend. They will inform the descriptors I submit on Monday.

Thanks for thinking about our community with me!


Help me with homework! Strategic Priorities

Help me with homework! Strategic Priorities

Council often feels like school: I write a lot, I read even more, and most of my time is spent showing up places to learn something new. This week the illusion was made complete when I was given homework. It even has the same deadline I toiled under for most of college: 4:30pm on Monday. Since I also have a Super Bowl to watch, want to help me out?

My task (a long with the rest of Council): figure out what we feel Grande Prairie needs to do to be a successful community. And we have been tasked with expressing that in a specific format. I'd love to see you take a shot at it!

What are 5 one or two word phrases you think should be the strategic priorities for our City? To make sure I understand them, I’d also love to hear a few results you would hope to see coming out of these priorities. For bonus points, put them in order of priority (high priority first).