from the Association of Town Finance Committee handbook.
True zero-based budgeting, in which all programs are reviewed
annually and budgets are built from the bottom up,
often does not work very well in the municipal arena. Many
programs are mandated by state or federal law or by the realities
of everyday life. However, it does make sense to review
each department’s mission and resources every few years.
Finance committees, town managers, employees and citizens
should work together and re-examine priorities, think about
whether and how missions can be redefined and how resources
can be reallocated to better meet a town’s changing needs.
This kind of planning, while more difficult in the short term,
pays off in the long run if only by keeping the budget process
from devolving into a series of ad hoc reactions to year-by year
changes in the town’s financial picture.
from the Town website, under Town Administrator: FY 2019 budget presentation:
Zero Based Budget: From the Ground Up;
Reflected on our review of work-flow & structure