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Budgeting For Outcomes

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What is the City's budget about?

The City's budget outlines the programs and services the City will provide for the community, and assigns the funding and staff resources to do so. The City is committed to providing high quality services that the community expects and deserves, while maintaining a strong focus on efficiency and effectiveness. 

How Are Budget Decisions Made?

The City follows a process known as Budgeting for Outcomes (BFO) to make decisions about how resources are allocated and aligned with the Strategic Plan.

Every two years, staff develop the City Manager's Recommended Budget, which is the product of significant community and staff input.

In the fall, City Council reviews the Recommended Budget, holds public hearings and other opportunities for further community input, makes any changes, and finally adopts the budget in November of even years, to go into effect Jan. 1 the following year. 

What is Budgeting for Outcomes?

Budgeting for Outcomes (BFO) is a budget development process that is designed to put community priorities first, rather than simply funding departments. 

In Fort Collins, those community priorities are organized around seven Key Outcome Areas - the results that the community wants to achieve. Those outcomes/results are things like, a Safe Community, or Environmental Health, or a High Performing Government.

By orienting around those results, the budget process shifts from paying for costs to prioritizing and "buying" specific programs, services or initiatives that will help us achieve those results.

Through that process, BFO also helps to create a local government that works better and costs less by emphasizing accountability, transparency, innovation, and collaboration.

What Are the City's Key Outcome Areas?

To achieve the City’s mission, vision and values, the Strategic Plan and City budget are aligned and focused on continuous improvement in seven Key Outcome Areas:

  • Neighborhood Livability & Social Health
  • Culture & Recreation
  • Economic Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Safe Community
  • Transportation & Mobility
  • High Performing Government 

In the City budget, revenue is allocated to support policies and initiatives that drive improvement in each outcome. Each Outcome Area includes specific objectives that define different focus areas (see the City's 2020 Strategic Plan for specific objectives).

Why Do We Do Budgeting for Outcomes?

Budgeting for Outcomes (BFO) better aligns the services delivered by City of Fort Collins with the things that are most important to our community.

By prioritizing desired outcomes, the City can be more responsive to changing economic conditions. When revenues are up, we can expand services and invest in innovative programs. When revenues are down, that prioritized list of services allows us to focus limited resources on the areas that matter most to the community. 

In addition, every single program or service funded in the budget has to tie to at least one strategic objective, and has to have at least one performance metric that will allow the City and community members to evaluate its success or improvement. BFO helps the City to be more transparent and accountable in our spending and performance.

What's Different About the 2021 Budget?

Typically, the City creates a two-year budget. Due to the sharply decreased revenue and continued uncertainty around COVID-19, the City has chosen to create a one-year budget for 2021 that focuses primarily on preserving ongoing operations and maintaining flexibility, should the City's financial picture change even more.

In addition, public engagement will look different for this budget. Because of ongoing gathering restrictions and the financial reality that the City is going to have to reduce or eliminate some services in order to create a balanced budget, we will not offer the same kinds of public engagement as in past budget cycles. 

However, community members will still have opportunities to shape the budget over the next several months, through online forums, surveys and other feedback mechanism on this page, public hearings with City Council in the fall, and more. Check back often for the latest engagement opportunities.

See Current Public Engagement Opportunities