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CC = Councilor; CZ = Citizen; DD = Department Director 1. What parts of the public budget process would you like to see changed?

CZ.1 The public survey employed by the city this year to determine public priorities for programs was virtually ignored by the Commission and the Council yet I think we should continue to determine public opinion by such a survey. The results of that survey should be summarized and cited at town hall meetings, so our public is aware of what all of our citizens think. Public testimony will always be biased in favor of a few programs or in cutting costs, but I think we need to give our citizens plenty of opportunity to express their interests. Nothing. I think the process is fine what citizens expect. Do away with early February process. Have department presentations of business plans in late April. City Manager present recommended balanced budget per statute in May. I support the idea that in difficult budget times there is less opportunity/benefit for public input. Therefore, I would be happy to have less input.


CZ. 2. CC. 1. CC. 2.

DD. 1. I think there are adequate opportunities for input and timely input at the Budget Commission level. What could be helpful is better public input at the various boards and commissions. This could be encouraged by better centralized communication on the budget website for when various commissions will be taking up budget issues that is, communicate the schedule of not only Budget Commission meetings when they are dealing with recommendations already made from staff and various boards, but for budget discussions at the various boards so that this input is encouraged at an earlier stage. The single unified City calendar on the new website should help, but there still needs to be a place to see all the public input opportunities regarding specifically budget input. DD. 2. The budget process is not broken. The state tax system is broken as well as the power given to organized labor unions that drive up the cost of government. DD. 3. The process we have been using is not broken, but it needs some tweaks. There are ample opportunities for public input; however, the budget is complex and not easy to explain in a 15 second sound bite. To understand the budget requires some time to learn about the services the City provides, how those services are funded, and the alternatives to maintain those services when revenues are constrained. The information provided at the January/February meetings has been designed to be sure all Commissioners have the same knowledge base about the organization, the issues that are coming, and how those issues may be addressed. The Budget Commission can provide input on additional information they may need, their positions on requests for new programs/services, etc. for the Budget Officers consideration in putting together a proposed budget. I think the early Budget Commission meetings would work better without financial plans rather the focus would be on the services and what it takes to continue them. Later in the process, as financial projections can be more specific, the Budget Officer can propose a budget and explain how revenues have been allocated to cover expenditures. If there is capacity to add to the budget, the Budget Officer can recommend services to be added based on how the ideas about new services fit with the Councils goals. If the budget needs to be cut, the Budget Officer can propose a balanced budget identifying the cuts he/she recommends, again based on Councils goals. Then the Budget Commission and City Council discussions can focus on whether or not they agree with the Budget Officers recommendations. 2011 Budget Process Survey Results Page 1 of 9

CZ. 3.

1) Mandatory orientation of new BC members. This year it was apparent that a few members did not know their legal roles and open meeting laws. 2) Less BC meetings than this year the BCs Dec & Jan levy meetings should have been the responsibility of the elected City Council.

DD. 4. For funds that are likely to be limited, lower priority services should identified (by boards/commissions, public, budget commission) early based on a conservative estimate of the shortfall. Staff could then build a proposed budget to be provided in May. Over time, the budget process may benefit from a review of each services and/or fund area like we did for the street fund 10 years ago. This is a big effort so cant occur all at once, but a review every 10 years or so might either eliminate the need for business plans or make them more relevant. Also it facilitates service prioritization, identification of need funding and sources. It would certainly allow a more detailed look at the budget. DD. 5. The Budget Commission meetings should start in January at the earliest, when departments would have a better sense of current year ending balances. Having accurate information sooner than that is unrealistic. CZ. 4. I would like to see either at a budget orientation or at the first meeting clarification of the role of the Budget Commission. It is clear from the attached documents that we have more of an oversight role and a role ro represent the citizens. I have felt that at times the Commission takes on the role of dept head or City Council in terms wanting extremely detailed information about city processes. My experience has been that delving this deeply creates an exceptional amount of work for city staff and does not always move the budget process forward. Shorter time duration would support a focused process after the best information is available for both budget preparation and the Budget Commission/City Council decision making process

DD. 6

DD. 7. If it isnt already included in Budget Commission training, include their roles and responsibilities regarding legal requirements. Also include in that training, the roles and responsibilities that Boards and Commissions play to make recommendations to City Council regarding the proposed budget. CC. 3. I am satisfied with the current budget process. I especially like that it provides the combined best efforts of senior staff to address the challenges ahead and gives BC and CC an opportunity to react and change the budget, if they have different priorities. The commission should start its work earlier, break into small groups to tackle portions, drill down to the real numbers as needed and offer thereby more informed questions and suggestions to staff and to the City Council.

CZ. 5

DD. 8. I think we have a good process if everyone would read the material before attending the meetings. Most questions asked this year made it very clear that provided material was not read, nor was information in presentations remembered. Internal process can be frustrating because of moving numbersbut that is a result of wanting to provide the most accurate information. Dont think we can do anything about that one. CC. 4. The process should start the next FY planning based on the current years funding level. Staff presentations should speak to what services they will be able to provide with that funding (presumably fewer services if the unit costs are increasing), what services they will not be able to provide (e.g., service reductions from current year) and any new services they wish funding for, if any. Those last two categories would make a list of candidates for funding The budget commission can then work on priorities for funding from the increased revenue projected in the next FY. 2011 Budget Process Survey Results Page 2 of 9

The starting presentations from staff should also speak in terms related to city council policies. One key topic to me is to have services (or broad service areas) that are supported by property taxes and fees for service report on the relative share of each. For example, recreation programs should report total cost vs. revenue from taxes and fees. The staff report on ambulance fees answering some of our committee questions did that well and made clear statements about how much of the cost was covered by fees. CC. 5. This year, the BC spent a lot of time waiting for the next meeting and little time considering problems or solutions. Especially this year, but last year too, there was little meaningful discussion. Frankly, I believe some BC members were afraid to speak. I would like to see more opportunity for the BC to bring community values into the process. However, if a rubber stamp outcome is expected from the BC, then the process should be more efficient in order to save time for the18 citizens and staff to do something more valuable than attend meetings. I can't think of anything I would keep, other than the clear, honest, and direct answers to questions from the honorable Budget Manager.

CZ. 6.

2. Are the City Councils policies and priorities for funding clear and presented in a way that allows you, as a decision maker, to state whether or not the Proposed Budget complies with the Councils funding priorities and directions? CZ.1. No. For example, after the City manager presented his list of budget reductions and the Commission decided to put a levy to the voters, the use of those additional monies was subject more to public pressures than to City priorities and directives. The City Manager commented that his priority was public safety, which agreed with the public survey, but that comment and the survey results were ignored by the Council, and the Council did not express its priority to the Commission. As we anticipate further possible program reductions, the Council should clearly identify its priorities; for example, 1) Public Safety, 2) Certain Social Programs, 3) Public Works, 4) Certain parks and Rec Activities, 5) Library, 6) Aquatic Center, etc. Not really. It took a little digging on my part (rather than being a part of the New Commissioners Packet and/or the Budget Commissioner 101 course) to ferret out what the Councils financial policies are. It required some serious analysis to determine the two objectives and three policies that were not being met. (But I assume doing such work is why we budget commissioners get paid the big bucks.) Finally, I was taken aback at the final Budget Commission meeting when I ran into resistance to making the statement about noncompliance a part of the motion to recommend the budget to the Council, and instead it was relegated to the minutes. There is no point to having language in the City Code if we are not interested in abiding by it even when it is as self-evident as the non-compliance of the 2011-12 budget is. Yes The Council members have to advocate for their goals with the citizen members. staff has done a good job of incorporating Council goals into the budget, but less opportunity when cutting budget.


CC. 1. CC. 2.

DD. 1. Goals are communicated clearly along with survey and performance data, but are very general. This is also true for overarching values. Financial policies and Council policies are not designed to be able to provide much guidance regarding priority tradeoffs involving multiple policies. The new Council goal on sustainable budgets does a better job by establishing sustainability as a priority. The discussion on core services is also aimed at improving this communication and clarity. 2011 Budget Process Survey Results Page 3 of 9

DD. 2. I sometimes wonder how certain issues are prioritized and become objectives while other more important issues, in my perspective, are absent. DD. 3. I think the Councils priorities for their goals are clear. What is not clear is what the priorities are for services that are not the defined goals or how the Council would prioritize the core services the City provides and how those core services stack up to new initiatives identified in the goals. In other words, when resources are constrained, would the Council cut service X to fund services identified in a goal, or not pursue the goal? CZ. 3. Yes, but I am NOT certain all BC members this year were aware of them. Better for BC to receive this info prior to the annual beginning of BC meetings.

DD. 4. Not applicable. DD. 5. We rely on the Finance Department to interpret Council policies and priorities, and communicate the guidelines for preparing our budget. CZ. 4. Yes. DD. 6. As a Department Director, I believe the Council goals and policies provide a good basis for budget preparation DD. 7. For the most part CC policies and priorities for funding are clear. However, there are times that Boards and Commissions feedback to Budget Commission appears to be disregarded or not understood. CC. 3. Currently, the actual priorities and directions of the current council emerge as the budget works through the process. As a City Councilor that works for me. I imagine that were I only a BC, I would prefer earlier prioritization by council. It wasnt the policies and priorities that were unclear it was the budget itself. No they are not. As a new councilor and budget commissioner, I found some of the policies myself, I learned of others from discussions and missed others (e.g., the reserve policy). Perhaps there needs to be a crib sheet of key policies. As for council priorities, my sense is that the process is structured for the order of priority statement to be: 1. staff when proposing budget cut packages (based on their understanding of council priority) 2. the budget commission when it provides budget input to staff 3. finally, the council when it deliberates on the budget It seems that we need some statement of service goals (strategic or tactical) for the city that the council needs to agree on early in the budget process. CC. 5. The CC's policies are presented at length in the policy manual, but I doubt that most BC members could pass a test on the content. I have trouble understanding the CC's day-to-day priorities, but that is a problem of their own making. I would expect that all exceptions to written CC policy in the budget would be highlighted by staff, and it would be helpful to financial non-experts on the BC to have the implications of the macro numbers explained in greater detail. No. I did not understand that the budget that was presented to the Commission was not in compliance with City Council policy. I think staff was in error not making the Commission Page 4 of 9

CZ. 5. CC. 4.

DD. 8. Council policy is clearpriorities from the individuals is not all that clear to me.

CZ. 6.

2011 Budget Process Survey Results

aware of that fact so that they would be aware of the implications of the budget they were recommending. It is the job of staff to clearly present the options available to the Commissioners, preferably with examples that would span a set of reasonable options (say at least one in compliance with policy). It is not the job of staff, even the City Manager, to intimidate Commissioners to keep them from asking questions or understanding the decision that is before them. If staff is frustrated by the direction of the Commission/Commissioners, I suggest this is a possible indication that staff has not done an adequate job of framing what is being asked for, and why some options would not be fruitful. 3. Are the presentations from Department Directors, including the PowerPoint slides provided in advance and the business plans helpful to you? CZ. 1 Very much so. However, in addition to the descriptions of Department activities, it would be helpful to have some general idea of Departmental priorities relative to possible budget reductions not to the point that employee morale suffers, but in general. Also of value would be Dept Directors describing any new or unique action in the department during the next fiscal year, or any concern the Directors have for the next year. Yes, especially when they include benchmarks of performance and comparative data with similar cities. Very helpful Yes. The overall view of City functions helps.

CZ. 2. CC. 1. CC. 2.

DD. 1. I think they are helpful as a director by forcing us to decide what the priority points to include are and giving a similar framework for discussing all the departments together. I also think they are an important communication tool for the general public regarding the budget as they are used on channel 21 and on the website. DD. 3. I think the presentations are good and useful, and the Commissioners appreciate the opportunity to ask Directors questions about the services they provide. I recognize that the business plans are weighty and not a quick read, but there is a significant amount of information in the business plans about the Citys operations, and I think they should be continued, with biennial updates. CZ. 3. Yes. I would assume that all BC members read the materials, especially the business plans, beforehand. Some BC members need to be careful of micromanaging.

DD. 4. Although this questions is probably more for budget commission members than department directors, I would say that the power point should be useful but a 5-10 minute verbal presentation is probably not. It is really hard to give any meaningful information about a $30 MM budget covering 11 fund areas in that amount of time. I would suggest going to a 30 minute presentation with questions submitted by the commission ahead of time plus 15 minute question period. Another idea, is to eliminate Utilities from the discussion completely since they go through a separate rate setting process. Development Services and Housing discussions might also be eliminated. DD. 5. The business plan and power point slides are our opportunity to present and explain Library services to the Council and Budget Commission. Department budgets are complex and full of detail. Business plans and brief power point presentations can help highlight the most important information for Commissioners and Councilors. CZ. 4. Yes although the power points seem to lean more to the cheer leading side e.g. we do so much that is good and not always as helpful in identifying areas where things are not as good. Page 5 of 9

2011 Budget Process Survey Results

I would especially like to see each presentation include potential collaborations in the city or with the county. DD.6. I appreciate the opportunity to present a bigger picture perspective on my Departments work program and related resource needs. Yes. Not really. They presented a surface view without enough detail to be truly helpful. Yes they are helpful to me. They provide lots of good useful information. I would however like to see a couple of enhancements: Many of the talks speak to good things the department is doing. It would be useful to see a focus on agreed metrics (reflecting perhaps the citys strategic goals as above). Some might be those in the city report card augmented by others the staff and or council have agreed to beforehand. This will help make the trade-offs in the budget. For services that are paid for out of both property tax and other dollars (fees, grants ), the reports need to speak to the relative proportions of each for that service. CC. 5. CC. 6 The information is presented professionally, but much of it is not so useful in making decisions. I believe that most BC members are overwhelmed by the volume. No. More of a distraction. It would be much more helpful to hear about the different types of feedback that are legally available to the Commissioners, and how staff and commissioners can work together to develop a budget that reflects the values of the community. Examples might be: review of policies, how they compare to other cities and states, summary of types of revenues and resulting restrictions on expenditures, an overview of property tax revenue restrictions over time and the resulting impacts (I am aware of the charts). An overview and discussion of the relationship between the state, cities, and counties regarding costs (PERS, healthcare, unions) revenues; the implications for cities and counties, the options available to them. 4. Should the budget process be adjusted based upon whether the projected ending balance is positive or negative? CZ. 1. Absolutely, but the adjustment also depends on how positive or negative the balance. I believe that the City Manager should make specific recommendations regarding the increases or decreases in spending depending on the ending balance, and then the Commission can react to those recommendations. The process should not allow the Commission to determine program reductions or increases independently; the Commission should respond to recommendations from the City Manager, who is in the best possible position to evaluate the impacts of those recommendations. I concur with the Budget Officers recommendation to adjust our process according to expected outcomes. No Sure!

DD. 7. Yes. CC. 3. CZ. 5. CC. 4.

DD. 8. I do not know if they are helpful or not.

CZ. 2. CC. 1. CC. 2.

DD. 1. When the balance is negative, there has to be additional process to determine priorities and reductions in making harder tradeoffs. How much additional public input is needed, and how and when, is perhaps a good topic for discussion by the Commission. Several years ago with the financial strategies outreach project, we had a lot of additional input leading up to a 2011 Budget Process Survey Results Page 6 of 9

bucket prioritization process by the Commission. This year, the priorities came primarily from staff and boards and commissions vs. adding an independent public input process. Perhaps there is a way to balance the two approaches. DD. 2. This should not be a budget process issue. You can follow the same process to get budgeted spending where it needs to go. DD. 3. I think there are differences in budgets where services can be added vs. services cut. However, Im not sure the process itself needs to be significantly different, but the focus of the process would change. DD. 4. Yes, see question #1. DD. 5. We agree that the process should be adjusted depending on the overall budget status. Allow enhancement requests only if there are positive fund balances. However if negative fund balances exist, still explore mechanism for communicating department needs outside of baseline budget. CZ. 4. I dont think so. I dont agree with the city assessment that the process especially in negative times confuses the citizens. Or if it does, I dont see that as a reason for making changes in the process. The budget in good or bad times is confusing and while it is unfortunate that this may result in rumors, I am not sure that could be avoided.

DD. 6. Yes, although I dont have specific ideas on the potential adjustments DD. 7. Positive balance needs more time to work with boards and commission regarding implementing business plan enhancements. Negative fund balance needs enough time to work with boards and commissions to prioritize services. Although the early projections of fund balance may not be accurate, time is needed to go through public process as well as determining the impacts of budget reduction decisions. CC. 3. CZ. 5. CC. 4. No. No. It should be adjusted, period. If we begin from the current years funding, then no I do not see a need for different processes for surplus or deficits. In both cases, if we are not in a declining revenue situation, we would be dealing with how to use the additional funds. If we have declining revenue, then we need a new process since we will have no a priori decisions on how to allocate the reduced revenue to the departments. I don't understand this question. The process should be directed toward solving problems; perhaps some problems will be recognized as corresponding to a positive balance scenario or negative balance scenario. The process should be extended earlier into the year for discussion at a conceptual level so that when the numbers come in we already understand what they are and why, and the implications on the decisions that need to be made. The Budget Commission needs to understand that in accord with ORS 294.406, the budget is initially developed by the City Manager (in concert with Dept. Directors and Commissions), that it is the responsibility of the Budget Commission to hold public meetings and to recommend a budget to the Council. The initial budget presented by the City Manager should include consideration of suggestions from public testimony either accepting or rejecting such suggestions. If the thinking of the Commission is in conflict with the budget developed by the City Manager, so be it, and we will all have a better process as a result. Page 7 of 9

DD. 8. No. I feel that the process should be the same regardless of ending balance.

CC. 5.

CZ. 6.


Other comments? CZ. 1.

2011 Budget Process Survey Results

The present process may seem cumbersome, but having public testimony is politically sound and necessary. I agree with staff that early meetings are not very productive when projections show a deficit and there is a need to reduce services. CZ. 2. I think it is very misguided for individual Councilors and/or Budget Commissioners to seek to do the Budget Officers job for him or her. No one in the city has a better understanding of all the details of what it takes to provide the desired services and what the ramifications are of adding/subtracting dollars. Further, no one else in the city has to live or die by those decisions, as much as does the Budget Officer. As I once heard it expressed most eloquently, Whats the point of keepin a dog if youre gonna do the barking? I also think it borders on self-delusional arrogance for individual Councilors and/or Budget Commissioners to think they are the knowers of what the citizens want, what the citizens value, or that they know whats best for the citizens. As close as any of us ever gets to possessing such knowledge are the results of hard fought elections about differences over substantive issues something I havent really seen here. Equally as informative (actually even more so because they gather the views of all citizens not just those who choose to vote) are the citizen satisfaction surveys done yearly, and the results of customer interests surveys, such as that done by DHM Research prior to this budget cycle. It would be extremely useful to expand and continue this effort yearly. When youre in the business of serving customers, what could be more important to achieving success than understanding what it is the customer wants? Ask the customer. DD. 1. One thing to consider is a step in the pre-process by the City Council to do a check in on assumptions so there is consensus about the assumptions in building a budget prior to BC discussion. For example, our recommended budget assumed that there were few cuts that could be made in public safety and that we should build a budget assuming no wage or benefit increases, etc. If there is a feeling that the Commission or staff do not know enough about Council priorities, that might be one way to clarify what they are, as is the core services discussion. CZ. 3. 1) Thanks for sending the attachments to this survey. These should be given out before every BC process begins. 2) BC meetings begin not in Jan or Feb but later in Spring when financial projections are more accurate. So many early meetings confused BC and public as to revenues and projected fund balances. 3) I do not favor BC forming subcommittees. I am concerned with lay people making decisions for elected officials AND professional staff.

DD. 5. We question the necessity of some of the detailed schedules Finance requires. For example, the tech plan and casual schedules are needed in some form for department tracking, but information turned in to Finance could be simplified. CZ. 4. Corvallis is a city of process and I think changing this process in negative budget years would actually generate more suspicion. Two areas where I see a way to improve the process are one as I noted above clarifying or reminding the Commission that we are take a macro look at the budget not a micro look. The desire on the part of the commission for increasing amount of information is not productive to a good process. Secondly, I would like the city staff to have greater leeway in saying to Commissioners when these request arise, that maybe they do not serve a good purpose. ( obviously, the wording needs improvement). Staff typically, agrees to take on the job of bringing more information to the meetings whenever it is requested to do so this giving the impression that this is their job and that gathering this information is easy. If the Commission understood the work ramifications of some of their request, they might be more prudent before making them. I feel that in recent years, Commission requests have been a huge burden on the staff and the results are not in proportion to the work involved. Page 8 of 9

2011 Budget Process Survey Results

DD. 7. Consider the possibility of a biannual budget for cost savings and efficiency. CC. 3. From time to time, I have found myself wishing that I was privy to the top staff level discussions regarding what to propose as the budget. In reflection on that wish, I realize that such access would probably not be in the best interest of the organization. Seemed to me the Budget Commission added very little to the budget process. It might be harsh to speak in terms of Budget Theater, but honestly, we never got information in a form that allowed for intelligent questions or true participation in shaping how expenses and revenues might be modified to match each other or produce something left over for worse times to come. It is within the power of the commission to get this level of information. We need to rethink the process. Now would be an excellent time to start.

CZ. 5.

DD. 8. I sometimes wonder if we provide too much information & that is the reason it is not read. Can be intimidating. Also appears that there is not a clear understanding of process outlined by state law regarding the process. Impression is there is not a historical knowledge of staff efforts to meet budgetary shortfalls in the pastcomments regarding efficiency, measurements, exploring alternative revenue, etc. have been examined and pursued on a regular basis for this entire decade. CC. 4. CC. 5. We will need a special work session to work out way through changes in the process for next year. The "budget process" is time consuming and expensive for the City. Overall, I think the City should agree about the purpose and relative value of the budget process. Then the purpose should be explained to the BC at the beginning so everyone will have the same expectations. Yes, I think there needs to be a community-level conversation about what we want from our City. I think the number of citizen boards compromises the value of their work. There should be more discussion about how city services and other service providers in the city can work together to provide the services the people of this city need and want. Social Services, Arts and Culture, Economic Development/Tourism (and Community Development?), and Public Safety. All services should be aggregated at this higher level and tradeoffs should be discussed among the community and coordinated at this level. Conversations should take place with the county, Boys and Girls Club, School District, LBCC, and OSU to inventory community assets and services before another levy is put before the voters. Getting community feedback at a higher level will require tradeoffs to be part of the discussion rather than advocating for one program over another. I would describe the general approach to the budget process so far as being defensive and reactive, we need a big-picture, proactive approach to provide the Commissioners and the community with the understanding of the context and restrictions that is needed in order to make the best decisions we can make under the circumstances. The measure of a good public process is not the number of meetings that were held, nor the number of staff hours spent preparing multiple updated versions of very similar things. The right measure is the level of understanding of the budget issues of the Commissioners and the community. I appreciated the scenarios that were provided as part of this year's process (such as different benefit options, and possible revenues). I hope that we can have a conversation at this level much sooner in the cycle (at a conceptual level back-of-the-envelop, staff time on memos rather than spreadsheets). We all will live with the decisions that are made by our democratic processes. The greater the understanding we all have of the issues, the better the collective decisions will be.

CZ. 6.

2011 Budget Process Survey Results

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