It’s not always easy to implement change when things have been done a certain way for many years. But Galesburg will give it a try with its budgeting process.
Mayor Sal Garza does not anticipate the city will generate more revenue through change. He said the immediate goal is to smooth out the process.
“So toward the end of the year we’re not wrestling with some of these issues that should have really been decided upon much earlier,” Garza said.
Garza said the change won’t happen overnight. In fact, it might take two or three years before a new process is in place.
He said the first step is to create a new comprehensive plan. The city’s current comprehensive plan dates back to 1999. The mayor is hoping for input from across the community.
Garza also would like the city to develop five-year financial plans so aldermen can anticipate how much money will be available.
A couple types of budget processes have been proposed. One is priority-based budgeting, in which the spending plan centers around priorities developed by city leaders and the community.
“Those priorities will drive how the city expends its resources and invests its resources,” Garza said.
The other option is zero-based budgeting. Under this plan, each year’s city budget would begin at zero and departments would have to justify their programs and other spending needs.
Garza said the city administration will review the options before making a recommendation to aldermen.