City Budget Process

The City of Fort Collins is returning to a two-year budget cycle now that the extraordinary circumstances caused by the pandemic have abated.  Staff is in process of developing budget recommendations for 2023 and 2024 that will be presented to Council this fall.  Citizen input on priorities is being solicited through an online survey and a citizen engagement process that uses community guides trained by the Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation to lead citizen small-group budget discussions.  As scheduled, the City Manager will release her recommended budget on September 2 with the first Council work session on September 13.  Formal adoption of the 2-year budget is scheduled to take place November 15.

To develop a budget, the City employs a system known as Budgeting for Outcomes (BFO) under which all proposed expenditures must demonstrate the extent to which a request achieves various objectives identified within the City Strategic Plan.  In theory this is also known as “zero-based” budgeting.  In practice, we know employees will remain in place and basic services will be delivered, it’s more a matter of how many employees are necessary to fulfill the function and how much will be spent to implement the offer.

Within each service area, teams are assembled to create an “offer” for functions, staffing and asset acquisitions that promote specific elements of the Strategic Plan.  These offers include a narrative of the proposed expenditure, metrics for evaluating outcomes and breakdown of associated costs.  Once all offers are submitted, separate inter-departmental teams evaluate proposals and forward a scoring summary to an executive lead team to form the basis of the Manager’s recommendation to Council.  This is the current stage in the process.

Relying upon revenue projections provided by the Financial Services Department, the 2023 net budget will be in the neighborhood of $546M (does not include utility services and intergovernmental transfers).  In contrast, budget offers for 2023 total $769.5M with the addition of 223 full-time equivalent employees and $747.8M (250 FTE) for 2024.

Clearly, a significant number of the submitted offers will not be funded while on-going revenue cannot support the addition of hundreds of new personnel.  The Chamber will be closely monitoring the evaluation process and highlight those issues which directly impact the business community.

Source: Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
July 2022