Today at City Hall, Mayor Paula Hicks Hudson, flanked by staff and city councilmembers, announced the launch of the Citizen Priorities Survey, a way for citizens of Toledo to weigh in on the expenditure of city funds in the areas of safety, transportation, neighborhoods, environment and the economy.
“Now is the time for all of our citizens to help us rank our priorities in this community,” the Mayor said, “and we ask that they provide comments as well.”
The mayor thanked councilwoman Sandy Spang for her work on the project.
“Great cities set big goals,” said Spang, “and this process…it’s going to provide really valuable information to City Council. This is that opportunity for [Toledo’s] citizens to have input. Priority-based budgeting…is a best practice. We are among an elite group of 150 municipalities that are embracing this program. I am very excited to see the results.”
The survey will provide information for a priority-based budgeting process the city has undertaken. Spang learned about the process at a National League of Cities workshop in 2015 and subsequently attended the annual conference of The Center for Priority-Based Budgeting in Denver, Colorado (on her own dime). Now, with the financial help of Toledo’s Chamber of Commerce, Toledo has engaged the Center’s consulting services, to guide the city through an evaluation and prioritization of its budget.
“We’ll have this info to guide the 2018 budget,” Spang said, “our budget has not really changed in decades, but our world has changed a lot.”
As part of the priority-based budgeting process, in addition to the citizen survey, city departments are also evaluating programs. By July the public will be able to look up online what city programs cost the city, and compare them with what other cities are spending on those programs.
Toledo City Council also voted at its last meeting to rejoin the National League of Cities.
“Several [City Council] members have attended conferences now,” said Spang, “It’s an opportunity to be aware of what opportunities are available from the federal government. It’s a great opportunity to find out what’s working in other cities. It’s a way to develop relationships with other cities. Much of the innovative things are happening on the city level. It’s really good to get out and see what other cities are doing and bring innovative things back [to Toledo].”
Citizen Priorities Survey
You can find and fill out the Citizen Priorities Survey at the City of Toledo website via this link: surveymonkey.com/r/ToledoCPS