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Budget Advisory Committees

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Budget advisory committees can provide local agencies with more focused input from a select group of community members.

“The budget advisory process made some staff very nervous – especially because we were inviting community leaders who had been critical of the city in the past – but they found that when you give reasonable people the same information, they generally come to similar decisions if they’ve come to the process with an open mind.” – Public Agency Staff, City of Redding

Keep in Mind

Advisory committees can take a variety of forms in response to local interests and needs. They offer opportunities for the education, engagement and, at times, deliberation of advisory committee members.

Why This Approach?

Advisory committees are a relatively easy and inexpensive way to include additional voices and fresh perspectives in the budgeting process. They also can provide greater transparency to the budgeting process by serving as a conduit of information to the larger community.

For more information see the notes on budget advisory committees on the right.

Outreach and Education Case Stories From California and Beyond

Below are stories of local agencies using the budget advisory committee approach to involve residents in the budgeting process.

Case Story

City of El Cerrito – Budget Advisory Committees Story

El Cerrito, located in the east San Francisco Bay Area, uses a financial advisory board with five members of the public who work with one elected official liaison and one staff liaison. The process started with each governing body member appointing a resident to the advisory board for a period corresponding to their term.

Case Story

City of Redding – Budget Advisory Committees Story

To help prepare Redding’s biennial budget, the city manager in this Northern California community asks residents to volunteer to serve on the city manager’s budget committee. The manager selects two community members with some experience in budgeting and knowledge of city government to participate in a series of department staff meetings and provide recommendations.

Case Story

City of Ventura – Budget Advisory Committees Story

In February 2009, the Ventura City Council created a Citizen Blue Ribbon Budget Committee, a fifteen person working group to dialogue with the community regarding the submission of a revenue measure to the voters.

Case Story

Calgary Launches Budget Engagement Process

The City of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, has initiated a large-scale public engagement project: Our City. Our Budget. Our Future.

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