Our office co-sponsored the unsuccessful March 2nd 2017 Affordability Action Plan that included the recommendation of moving the City to budgeting biennially, which could be an innovative tool in finding efficiencies in the City budget:
Part III. Better Way of Budgeting
In the pursuit of spending tax dollars most efficiently, the City recognizes that there needs to be a new way of budgeting. It is not enough to simply roll the previous budget over year after year, simply adding to it, rather than ensuring all expenditures of City money achieve strategic goals and outcomes set out in the Strategic Plan and Imagine Austin.
A. Biennial Budget – Review of City Programs & Expenditures
City Council will work with the City Manager to biennially review all departments, associated programs and budget, allocated full-time equivalents (FTEs), and performance metrics and outcomes. Each city department will be reviewed once every 24 months, allowing for longer-term programming and evaluation periods. This will allow the City Council to more accurately measure return on investment, re-prioritize funding where appropriate, and support programmatic expansions during a department’s biennial review period.
The biennial budgeting proposal is currently under development by District 6 staff for future consideration by Council.