NORWALK, Conn. – Taking a cue from Norwalkers who are pleading for candidates to talk about something of substance, one mayoral hopeful has put forth something to consider: performance based budgeting.
Common Councilman Matt Miklave (D-District A), who has formed an exploratory committee in the mayor’s race, is calling for a top-to-bottom review of all city programs. The would-be Democratic Party mayoral candidate is arguing for a thorough review of all city programs consistent with a process known as performance-based budgeting.
“By establishing performance criteria for every program, and conducting a regular, rigorous review of performance, the city can answer a fairly simple but important question – are these programs working?” Miklave said in the press release.
Performance-based budgeting, also known as PBB, “aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditure by linking the funding of public sector organizations to the results they deliver, making systematic use of performance information,” the Public Financial Management Blog (PFM Blog), said. The blog is managed by the two public financial management divisions of the IMF (International Money Fund) fiscal affairs department.
Miklave’s press release puts it this way: “Performance-Based Budgeting forces governments to submit each program to a budget ‘triage.’ If the program works – leave it alone. If the program is broken beyond repair – get rid of it. If it can be made to work – then fix it. This approach helps prioritize spending and planning resources where they can do the most good.”
Miklave believes Connecticut cities must face a new fiscal reality, according to the release. Funding from the state to support local programs is limited and families and local businesses are taxed to the hilt. “Cities and municipalities must face the same realities as families and small businesses – a cost-benefit analysis is needed from time-to-time to make sure we’re spending our money wisely,” Miklave said.
“It is time to break the cycle of focusing our attention on the 5 percent of the budget we cut, rather than the 95 percent of the budget we keep,” he said. “This just pits one group of taxpayers against another, while the overwhelming majority of our $300 million budget gets spent without discussion.”
Miklave has long been an advocate of Performance-Based Budgeting, the release stated. “A shift in our thinking will allow us to use resources wisely and to begin making the kinds of tough decisions that will create jobs, improve education and protect the unique character of Norwalk,” he said.
“I’m not suggesting we permanently slash needed programs. But if a program is under-performing, it just makes sense to suspend the program, figure out how to make it work and ask if the cost of making the program viable is worth it. Otherwise, we’re just throwing tax-dollars down a money-pit and abdicating our responsibility to Norwalk families, local businesses and taxpayers,” Miklave said in the release.
Miklave was first elected to the Common Council in 2001, where he served as chairman of the Planning Committee and as council president. His current term on the council began in 2011.