Overview: What is Priority Based Budgeting?

Priority Based Budgeting is the city’s priority-driven budgeting process that will enable resources to be allocated to the programs and services that provide the greatest value to our residents.

Over the past year, the city has worked with the Center for Priority Based Budgeting (CPBB) to complete implementation of our priority-driven budget model. The foundation of the process is to:

Prioritize Services: Evaluate the relative importance of individual programs and services rather than entire departments.

Do the Important Things Well: In a time of revenue decline, a traditional budget process often attempts to continue funding all the same programs it funded last year, although at a reduced level. The priority-driven budgeting process identifies the services that offer the highest value and continues to provide funding for them, while reducing or looking for efficiencies in lower value service areas.

Question Past Patterns of Spending: An incremental budget process does not seriously question the spending decisions made in years past. The priority-driven budget process puts all the money on the table to encourage more creative conversations about services.

Spend within the Organization’s Means: Priority Based Budgeting starts with the revenue available to the government, rather than last year’s expenditures, as the basis for decision making.

Know the True Cost of Doing Business: Focusing on the full costs of programs ensures that funding decisions are based on the true cost of providing a service.

Provide Transparency of Community Priorities: When budget decisions are based on a well-defined set of community priorities, the government’s aims are not left open to interpretation.

Provide Transparency of Service Impact: In traditional budgets, it is often not entirely clear how funded services make a real difference in the lives of citizens. Under priority-driven budgeting, the focus is on the results the service produces for achieving community priorities.

Demand Accountability for Results: Traditional budgets focus on accountability for staying within spending limits. Beyond this, priority-based budgeting demands accountability for results that were the basis for a service’s budget allocation.


What is the Priority Based Budgeting Process?


Identifying results important to our community:

City of Toledo Priority Based Budgeting Survey Data


Identifying and allocating costs to all services and programs the city offers:

City departments completed program inventories identifying all of the programs and services currently offered.  The city has close to 700 programs and services.


Evaluating programs based on their influence in achieving results:

All of the city’s programs were scored against criteria that incorporates: mandates, reliance on the city to provide the program, cost recovery, portion of the community served, and change in demand. Programs were also scored based on ability to achieve community and/or good governance results.  All department scores were reviewed by peer review teams as part of a quality control process.  Additionally, a community survey, launched and completed in June 2017, was incorporated in the scoring process so that programs that influenced the most highly valued community results were weighted accordingly. 

As a result of this scoring and survey process, all programs have been placed into quartiles to demonstrate which ones have the greatest influence on results. The Resource Alignment Diagnostic (RAD) tool can be used to review which programs are the most influential against community and governance results (Quartile 1) and which programs are the least influential (Quartile 4).

City of Toledo Priority Based Budgeting Open Data User Guide

Open PBB


Allocate resources based on results

Using the Resource Alignment Diagnostic tool, the city intends to review all future budget allocations based on which programs most directly and efficiently achieve the community’s goals. 

During 2018 budget development, which is already underway, city departments are using the results of the outcome based budgeting process to explore cross-departmental efficiencies and areas where resources may be reallocated towards programs with greater influence on results.