Aaron Shroyer, a Cookingham-Noll Fellow in the Finance Department, describes several ways to get involved with the City’s budget process.
Fiscal Year 2016-17 Budget preview
Lots of things are going on in February, budget-wise. Here’s how you can get and stay involved:
- The City’s Open Budget portal is a great way to explore the makeup of the current and proposed budget. The Open Budget tool offers users the ability to view this data for a specific fiscal year or over time. User options allow the budget to be broken down by Department, Council Goal, Program, Expense Category, and Funding Source. Users are able to “drill down” at various levels of specificity until they reach line item expenditures. The FY2016-17 Submitted Budget will be up on Open Budget soon after it is sent to City Council.
- The Budget Office provides a tool, Balancing Act, to simulate the decision-making process that goes into balancing a budget. Due to limited resources, users are forced to ponder the trade-offs between funding different budget priorities. This tool gives users the ability to decrease or reallocate money across departments and Council goals until the budget is balanced. One of our most popular exercises, the Balancing Act helps to inform City staff about citizen priorities, which are reflected in the final budget decisions.
- This year’s budget process coincides with the launch of the Budget Office’s new website. The website will illustrate the links between the annual budget and the five-year Citywide Business Plan. In addition to providing more detail about the budgetary process, the website will serve as the central hub for public participation, with links to Open Budget, Balancing Act, social media, and other resources. We’re sure it will become your new homepage if it isn’t already!
- In addition to these new online resources, the Budget Office will join City staff and elected officials at three public hearings:
- Feb 20th from 10am-12pm at Regional Police Academy, 6885 NE Pleasant Valley Road
- Feb 27th from 10am-12pm at Kansas City Missouri East Patrol, 2640 Prospect Avenue
- March 5th from 10am-12pm at Hillcrest Community Center, 10401 Hillcrest Road
These hearings are great opportunities for citizens to give staff their feedback.