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City releases 2021 Recommended Budget, sets public hearing and online forum dates

Released on Friday, September 4, 2020
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The City of Fort Collins published the 2021 City Manager’s Recommended Budget Sept. 1 and has scheduled several opportunities for community members to learn more and provide feedback to City Council.

The Recommended Budget was developed by City staff and provided to City Council Sept. 1. Council will now spend the fall reviewing and modifying the budget prior to adoption in November. Community members can review the proposed budget at ourcity.fcgov.com/2021budget.

The City will host two online budget forums at 6 p.m. Sept. 16 and Sept. 23 to help inform City Council’s upcoming work sessions. To access the forums and participate, visit ourcity.fcgov.com/2021budget. Live Spanish-language interpretation will be provided. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of City budget and finance staff, and to weigh in on which kinds of City programs and services are most important to fund in 2021.

City Council will also hold two formal public hearings about the budget during their Council meetings on Sept. 15 and Oct. 6.

Budget Themes

The Recommended Budget was designed to provide flexibility during the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, several guiding principles influenced the budget development, including minimizing impacts to service delivery, focusing on City Council priorities and supporting equity advancement, and investing in strategic service enhancements and capital projects. A detailed explanation of budget themes, tradeoffs and the decision-making process is included in the cover memo to City Council and in the introductory section of the Recommended Budget.

Some budget dollars were strategically reallocated to fund higher priority services. Examples include:

  • Reallocating some Police Services funding by closing the Campus West office and reducing overtime funding for bike patrol in order to fund a homelessness coordinator position, expand the Outreach Fort Collins program and support restorative justice programs.
  • Converting a vacant Code Compliance Inspector position into a Neighborhood Liaison specifically for manufactured housing neighborhoods to help support resident rights and coordinate needs within those communities.
  • Shifting programmatic funding from economic cluster and innovation support to support COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.

In addition, reflecting ongoing public health concerns and reduced participation due to COVID-19, the Recommended Budget includes reduced hours at some recreation and cultural facilities and a 5 percent reduction in Transfort services.

Other key items recommended for funding include:

  • Housing Manager position and resources to advance affordable and achievable housing strategies
  • Emerald Ash Borer infestation management
  • Vine & Lemay Overpass construction
  • Bus Rapid Transit planning for North College

Budgeting for Outcomes

The City’s budget is created using the Budgeting for Outcomes (BFO) process. For 15 years, BFO has helped the City identify and fund various programs and services to achieve different community outcomes. Each community outcome has specific objectives and performance measures that make up the City’s Strategic Plan, and every funded budget item has to impact at least one of those objectives. The Strategic Plan is also updated every two years through extensive community engagement to ensure funded programs and services reflect the desires of the community. City Council unanimously adopted the 2020 Strategic Plan earlier this year. While the City typically creates a two-year budget, due to the economic uncertainty related to COVID-19, the City moved to a one-year budget for 2021.

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