City of Kansas City, MO: Engaging Residents in KC’s Citywide Business Plan
Best Practice in Public Participation in Planning, Budgeting, and Performance Management
The City of Kansas City, MO developed a comprehensive, renewable five-year Citywide Business Plan (CWBP) that included three essential components: the City’s Strategic Plan, a Financial Strategic Plan, and a Five-Year Planning Model. The CWBP guides financial and operational alternatives through the planning and budget process and includes resident engagement which the city recognized as being crucially important in the CWBP process. Prior to this, much of the resident feedback came from the City’s annual resident survey; however the Mayor and the City Council realized that direct resident interaction could not be limited to just the survey.
The City developed a series of resident work sessions in different neighborhoods across the city that invited the public to directly influence strategic and budgetary decisions on an annual basis. These sessions provide residents the opportunity to learn about the CWBP and to directly influence the plan through activities that simulate the City’s budget process. Included in the activities are “Pick Your Priority”, a bracket challenge, interactive style game where residents vote in head-to-head matchups on City programs. In 2017, the City evolved the Resident Work Sessions to provide a realistic simulation of the City’s annual CWBP and budget process, including seeking general information, prioritization exercise, and determining programs for increase/decrease through a ‘balancing act’. The Mayor and City Council then use the information from the sessions to drive budget decisions.
GFOA recommends that governments incorporate public participation efforts in planning, budgeting, and performance management results processes. GFOA also recommends that to ensure effective and well implemented public participation processes, governments include the following considerations in designing their efforts:
• Purposes for involving the public
• Assurances that they get the public’s perspective rather than only a small number of highly vocal special interest groups
• Approaches to eliciting public participation and the places in the planning-budgeting performance management cycle where those approaches are likely to be most effective
• Information that the process will be incorporated into decision making
• Communication to the public regarding how the information collected will be and was used
• Buy-in from top government officials.
Click on the image above to see the 2017 Updated Citywide Business Plan