7 Replies Latest reply: Apr 19, 2014 5:35 AM by anpol RSS

    Are our municipal budgets a reflection of our cities values?

    1245395 C4D Expert

      I was watching an interview by Charlie Rose (renowned TV personality in the U.S.), when he asked the new U.S. Treasury Secretary whether he agreed that “budgets are a reflection of our (governments) values.” Of course, the interviewer asked this question in the context of the U.S. Federal budget and the ongoing debates around some of President Obama’s initiatives. The Secretary answered in the affirmative and the interview continued.  However, I found this notion to be extremely disturbing.


      If our municipal budgets are indeed a reflection of our cities values, what do the living conditions in our slums say about us?


      Here is our challenge: As municipal practitioners how do we create a vision for local economic development and ensure buy-in from all stakeholders? What can we do to strengthen our city planning and enforce development regulations? How do we improve our decision making around investment in physical and social infrastructure, so we can ensure access to services and opportunities for upward social mobility, for all our constituents? And how can we reflect this in our forecasts for spending and revenues to better articulate our values in our budgets and policies?      


      I am interested in learning about how your city approaches these subjects and especially understanding the everyday issues that you face during implementation.     

        • Re: Are our municipal budgets a reflection of our cities values?
          C4D Enthusiast

          Budget as a reflection of values? sounds interesting to discuss. It may really seem disturbing but there is somewhat truth into it. The analysis of the government's budget reflects which and where the city lies weak or where it want to be strengthened. It may also reflect the vision and priorities of its leaders on where it want to lead the organization or how he/she wants to see it after the end of his/her term. Good thing in our City we are inclined to always look and try to review our medium and long-term development plans. We also practice of anchoring our plans on the plans of our national government and cascade it down to the smallest government unit. We strengthened partnerships with private sectors or the so called stakeholders to be more transparent and at the same time directly solicit ideas and recommendations for the betterment of the community.

           

          Currently, we are focused in crafting our 5-year local disaster risk reduction management plan due to the various natural calamities that saddened our country the past years.

            • Re: Are our municipal budgets a reflection of our cities values?
              C4D Enthusiast

              Here in South Africa Municipal Budgets are a reflection and is informed by our Intergrated Development Plan (IDP), which is actually a strategic planning document over a period of 5 years. The IDP contains all the stages in Strategic management viz, Vision, Mission,Values, etc. But importantantly it also contains  sectorplans which relates to the Environment, Planning and development, Public Transport, service delivery(Housing,water,electricity and waste management), community health and disaster management. All these plans are set out in a balance scorecard for the Municipality. The budget is formulated to address these plans and to ensure that the KPA's and KPI's that has been determined are met.  Performance and service delivery is monitored during the course of a financial year through a Service delivery and Budget implementation plan (SDBIP). 

                • Re: Are our municipal budgets a reflection of our cities values?
                  C4D Enthusiast

                  Interestingly, we are also using the Performance Governance System (PGS) utilizing the Balanced Scorecard. Its an easy monitoring system of how do we fair, where we are and where do we need to improve. Its also a good management tool and a transparent reporting system. Through it, stakeholders are easily encouraged to participate and seriously take part in attaining the city's vision, mission and goals focusing on the lined up priorities.

                    • Re: Are our municipal budgets a reflection of our cities values?
                      1245395 C4D Expert

                      Mary, Would it be possible for you to share a sample document of the Performance Governance System (PGS) for the community's reference. It will be interesting to compare the balanced scorecard approach as used by you in the city of San Fernando, Philippines and as used by Peet in the municipality of eThekwini, South Africa.  Thanking you in anticipation.

                        • Re: Are our municipal budgets a reflection of our cities values?
                          C4D Enthusiast

                          Hi Kirti! Sure, its always interesting to compare scorecards of different localities and will definitely learn from each other. I'll just take with me a copy of the City's scorecard for your reference. I will be attending the academy on the 2nd day until the last. Unfortunately, a technical problem occurred in the processing of my passport that caused delay on its release which consequently affected the processing of my Korean Visa. Hope to see you in the academy!

                      • Re: Are our municipal budgets a reflection of our cities values?
                        1245395 C4D Expert

                        Peet, Would it be possible for you to share a sample of the following documents for the community's reference: (a) Integrated Development Plan (IDP); (b) sector plan (c) balanced scorecard for a municipality; and, Service Delivery and Budget Implementation Plan (SDBIP).  Thanking you in anticipation. 

                    • Re: Are our municipal budgets a reflection of our cities values?
                      C4D Enthusiast

                      To answer the challenge "As municipal practitioners how do we create a vision for local economic development and ensure buy-in from all stakeholders? What can we do to strengthen our city planning and enforce development regulations? How do we improve our decision making around investment in physical and social infrastructure, so we can ensure access to services and opportunities for upward social mobility, for all our constituents? And how can we reflect this in our forecasts for spending and revenues to better articulate our values in our budgets and policies? " , Local Economic Development (LED) is a very broad term in engaging stakeholders as well as to enforce development regulations. On the one hand we would encourage development no matter what, and on the other hand we will enforce building and development regulations, not to forget the environment regulations. It is however important for us as financial Practisioners especially those that has the ability to influence government policy to create an environment that will address the developmental needs of the Municipality. The provision of bulk services at affordable cost has a big influence on LED, this is one of the major considerations by Business when it comes to the establishment of factories, etc. Another area where the Municipality could play a key role is the issue surrounding taxation and any form of tax relief should be considered. Any social support has to be measured against the affordability levels of the current paying citizens. The biggest success for any community or Municipality would be the ability to stimulate the private sector to create employment and to ensure that there is a consistent growth in the local economy and the provision of a skilled labor force. Social services demand will overtake the affordability of other taxpaying citizens if a municipality cannot achieve the latter objective and this is a recipe for disaster. We see this currently in areas in South Afrika where Municipalities cannot provide basic services to the evergrowing demand due to a lack in financial resources and poor credit worthiness of a Municipality. Our IDP process is still one of the better ways to articulate the demands by constituents, but the realisation thereof sits in the ability to provide according to their demands and to raise sufficient capital to be able to respond to the demand.