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Explaining Difficult Budget Issues Opening up the Can of….. Pennies, Dollars and more.

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Presentation on theme: "Explaining Difficult Budget Issues Opening up the Can of….. Pennies, Dollars and more."— Presentation transcript:

1 Explaining Difficult Budget Issues Opening up the Can of….. Pennies, Dollars and more

2 Overview – A few questions Current level of outreach/engagement? Minimal – Moderate – Out the Wazoo Use of social media In general – On budget matters Use of citizen-focused meetings, workshops? Preparing simplified budget information? You balance the budget games or exercises?

3 Overview – Johns Wisdom Five moving pieces Elected board interests About the information – what and how Outreach and engagement Difficult budget messages

4 Five moving pieces – no easy formula PIO/public affairs – getting the word out Finance/Budget staff – what is the word, and the figures! City/County Manager – staff-Elected Board relations, old and new procedures Elected Board Consumers of the information - residents, citizens, organized stakeholder groups, individual advocates, media

5 Elected Board interests Hot topic Handle carefully Dont make our job harder Supplement - do not replace - contact with citizens, stakeholder groups Easier to focus on big picture – such as taxes, capital projects, services

6 ABOUT THE INFORMATION – the what and the how Levels/complexity of budget information Context: Comparison data Your jurisdiction Other jurisdictions Old media – New media

7 Outreach and Engagement Reaching many busy citizens vs. Small number of advocates Fairness – ease of participation, methods of dissemination, invitation to a public meeting Headlines vs. the tough details Single-issue focus vs. Balancing priorities – Can citizens understand and struggle with the trade-offs that the Board faces?

8 DIFFICULT BUDGET MESSAGES We cant do that It is not that simple Re-valuation and revenue neutral tax rate Fund balance is not a slush fund Managing separate funds – cannot (or should not) move money between them

9 2011 SOG resource Creating Effective Citizen Participation in Local Government Budgeting: Practical Tips and Examples for Elected Officials and Budget Administrators Image credit: Andrew M. Sachs


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