Get involved with the Budget
The budget begins with the Strategic Planning Process, which determines the City’s mission, strategic goals, and key performance indicators. The Strategic Plan creates a shared vision for the future of the community.
The City Commission has identified five goals that they believe should be areas of focus for the community. These goals are intended to provide strategic direction for City staff. The goals and their mission statements are:
- Responsible City Government: Financially Sound City Providing Exceptional Services.
- City Investment in Today and Future: Upgrades City Infrastructure, Facilities and Parks.
- Downtown Becoming Vibrant: Creating a Sense of Place and a Destination.
- Growing Local Economy: Increased Business Investment and Jobs.
- Premier Community in South Florida: The Place for Families to Live in Great Neighborhoods.
For each strategic goal, an action plan is developed for implementing policy, department operations, and key performance indicators. Through this process, the Business Plan is developed:
- Commission goal: Identify the vital issues.
- Initiatives: Allocate activities, resources, personnel, investment and time planned for the year to achieve each key performance indicator.
- City Key Performance Indicators: Quantifiable performance measures used to evaluate customer satisfaction levels and overall operational performance of the City.
- Departmental Key Performance Indicators: Quantifiable performance measures used to evaluate the operational performance of a department.
In an effort to closely align the City’s scarce resources with the needs and desires of our residents, we use a number of “listening devices” to gather credible and useful data. This customer input is a critical piece of the Strategic Planning process. Our business model demands that we know our customers’ needs and desires. Through citizen and business surveys, SWOT analyses, Virtual Slice of the Springs and community meetings and good old-fashioned customer contact, we know what our customers expect.
Just as in previous years, once the priorities and indicators are established, the operations of the City are reviewed and resources redirected to bring the strategic vision to life. Specific actions, programs, capital purchases, staffing requirements and funding levels are developed in response to the needs identified in the strategic plan. The Business Plan is an outgrowth of the strategic priorities, capturing the City’s vision in a quantifiable form, improving decision making, and resource allocation. Despite the reduction in revenue due to property tax reform and the economic recession, initiatives in this year’s Business Plan focus on environmental sustainability and focus on assisting our businesses as well as our residents weather the difficult economic times that lay ahead.
A guiding principle we’ve used to focus our analysis of potential budget reductions is to continue to offer our customers the highest quality services possible. A benefit of using a Business Plan is the direct link between costs, activities, and key drivers. We use this model to monitor our performance by:
- Performing variance analysis using cost drivers;
- Process mapping that links budget items to activities;
- Identifying value-added and non-value-added activities
In developing the annual operating budget, departments analyze both existing and potential services in light of the strategic goals. The Business Plan identifies added and removed services, which are then quantified in the line item budget.
They reflect not only the strategic goals as set by the City Commission, but also incorporate feedback from customer surveys and environmental scans that contribute to the long-term financial health of the City.
Departments set targets to meet the needs identified by the strategic goals. To meet these targets, programs within the departments have specific objectives that are measured through process indicators. Staff’s individual objectives and performance indicators are then linked to the program objectives. Each employee knows what the end result should be and how it contributes to the Strategic Plan. In this way, the budget becomes a tool for monitoring, rather than controlling, operating performance.
The scorecards included with each department’s summary is designed to show how the program objectives support the strategic goals. Each performance indicator directly linked to the strategic goal it addresses. Our policy deployment model follows the illustrated path:
It is significant we view the process in this fashion, so we combine top-down and bottom-up input, tightly linking targets to the strategic plan.
Be Part of the Process
Business planning workshops, which are open to the public, are held during the months of June and July. Please check the City’s website for upcoming meeting dates.
During the month of August, recommended operating and capital improvement program budget documents are prepared and presented to the City Manager and forwarded to the City Commission for review during budget workshops, which are open to the public.
The City Commission either approves or makes changes in the recommended budget(s) and returns to staff for further study.
Public hearings and final adoption of the budget occur in mid-September.