Scott Huizenga, Budget Officer, discusses public participation for FY 2017-18 Submitted Budget
The Mayor and the City Manager released their submitted budget to the City Council on Thursday, February 9th. The nearly $1.6 billion budget increases about three percent in Governmental Activities (not including Water Services or Aviation). The submitted budget emphasizes public safety funding while maintaining funding for most other programs at current levels. The budget also adds to reserves, and it reduces rate of increase in water and sewer rates. Approximately one month has passed since the budget release, and we still have a few weeks ago leading to budget adoption on March 23rd. There are still ways for residents to be involved in the process. And, there are several online tools available for folks who want to participate.
The Submitted Budget is the culmination of a year-round budgeting and planning process that starts with the City Council forming and adopting a Citywide Business Plan. The Citywide Business Plan sets the goals, objectives and the five-year financial plan for the City. The annual budget is the One Year Snapshot of the Citywide Business Plan. The City offers several opportunities to participate during the Citizen Work Sessions in the fall – such as the popular “Pick Your Priority” exercise – and in the spring through Neighborhood Budget Hearings. The City recently held three public budget meetings in three locations – north, central, and south to gather public comments on the submitted budget. The Finance and Governance Committee also held its official public hearing on Wednesday, March 1.
However, it is not too late to become involved in the public process for this year and beyond. The City hosts a series of online forums and tools to gather even more input on the budget process.
Balancing Act allows users to draft their own city budgets. Users can find additional program detail, and they can submit their own budget proposals and comments to the City Council for review. Balancing Act is especially simple to use. Simply click to increase and decrease the budget by department. Just remember to balance your budget before submitting.
Open Budget allows users to view the entire budget – down to the line item level – through an interactive, graphical format. Users can even download data or graphs of views that they create. Open Budget is definitely for those who like customizable data at their fingertips or for those who want detail on specific programs.
The City offers several ways to participate in the budget and planning process throughout the year. You can follow the Budget Office on Twitter or following the hashtag #KCMOBudget. We post regular updates on the budget, including a Budget Fact of the Day every weekday morning. You can also send us questions directly via Twitter, or the old-fashioned way via e-mail.