The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has engaged in planning sessions designed to articulate the Board’s strategic priorities and the principles by which decision-making will occur in relation to the budget process. Parallel with these discussions, the Board and Administration have explored the means by which these strategic priorities will be funded, in light of the impending $6.99 million structural deficit projected for 2014 to 2017. The Board is taking this opportunity to deepen its level of engagement on what those strategic priorities are, what principles will be employed in making decisions about resource allocation to advance those priorities, and how the achievement of those priorities will be evaluated over the long-term.
Budget Cycle Process
As the budget cycle progresses, the Board must ensure that investments in these priority areas translate into tangible community impacts. To achieve this goal, the Board is establishing a structured and transparent budget process for the four year 2014 to 2017 budget cycle. The budget process will include collaboration between Board members, community partners, and county departments, and will center on discussion of the following policy considerations:
- An overview and declaration of a new paradigm for county investments
- Four Priorities for the work the Board seeks to invest in most heavily, accompanied by qualitative priorities meant to focus resources on a reduced set of activities
- A set of guidelines to support decision-making by the Administrator and the Budget Task Force as they confront the realities of our financial limitations and seek to balance competing interests
The process will ensure that the Board’s role as a policy-setting body remains robust throughout the entire four-year budget cycle and that County Departments can apply the Board’s priorities to their budget development, as well.