Mark Allen, a Cookingham-Noll Fellow in the Finance Department, explains how a redesigned website will make it easier to budget for the long-term.
In the coming months, the Budget Office will be working with the City Communications Office to roll out improvements to its website pages. New information will connect users with the Citywide Business Plan and explain how the Budget Office fits within that plan by mirroring the different steps in the development cycle.
The link between the budget and the Citywide Business Plan is an important first step in breaking the pattern of successive, single-year financial plans often implemented without a long-term view. The goals of the website redesign are to further increase transparency in the process, improve public engagement and educate about:
- the process to develop the annual budget and Citywide Business Plan
- how the two are connected
- year-round public engagement through various platforms
In Kansas City the current budget should be understood as a one-year snapshot that fits into the larger five-year Business Plan. The website’s new format and content will help illustrate this relationship and better communicate how the budget is developed in alignment with the Business Plan as a means to allocate resources effectively to achieve long-term City goals.
New pages will discuss City Council goals, departmental strategic objectives, submission and adoption processes for the Citywide Business Plan, and annual budget and trend analysis. The public involvement page will include outreach efforts such as a calendar of events; links to the Budget Office’s social media, blog and public forums; and links to public-input applications like Balancing Act. With the changes, users will be better able to understand the role of the Budget Office within broader City processes, find more opportunities for themselves to become engaged with the City, and ultimately help steer the allocation of City resources moving forward.
Users of the Budget Office website are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions for website improvements as the office prepares to implement changes. Users will begin to see updates in late January, with the full website update completed in February.