The attachments below are from the excellent presentation that Colin McNight gave at the Wednesday, April 7, 2010, CANA meeting, where he compared the City of Albany's Budget with those of other municipalities. Colin indicates, "that the comparative analysis of the City of Albany’s annual budget was prepared to give interested persons a benchmark of where this community fits on the taxation continuum. This study is viewed as a ‘Start’ to the conversation about how local expenditures can be controlled, and make Albany a more competitive player in housing and business investment decisions." Please take a look at the documents to see where we stand.
He also includes "a plea to our municipal leadership to revise the format of our own budget document presentation: During the research for this presentation, many quite dry, if not boring budgets were reviewed. But in a number of cases, the budget proved to be a pretty dynamic read. There are budget officers out there who believe in including very valuable narrative information to supplement the columns of numbers. When a budget document includes information on the plans for the coming year for each department’s projects, along with justifications for staffing levels, the budget is much more useful. Some of the budgets reviewed not only include plans for the coming years, but performance measures against which the department could be judged at the conclusion of the year. These documents really gave a sense of what the hopes and dreams of the community are, outlined and justified their priorities, and gave the community a method of holding their government accountable."
The above quotations are found in the file called Budget comparison representation2. After reviewing the attachments, please feel free to comment on them below, as we would like to get a discussion going.