The City of Fort Collins has been selected by Bloomberg Philanthropies as one of 30 municipalities to participate in the What Works Cities City Budgeting for Equity and Recovery program to aid cities in confronting budget crisis and strengthen their commitment to equity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program will help cities create and put in place plans that will drive financial recovery and ensure that the cities budget crisis does not harm low-income residents and communities of color. It will also allow leaders within the 30 cities to problem solve with a network of peers and produce a set of tactics for other local leaders to follow.
“We’re thrilled to be invited to the Budgeting for Equity and Recovery program,” said Mayor Wade Troxell. “As City Council is finalizing our 2021 budget, we are acutely aware of the challenges cities are facing during this pandemic, and the ways certain budget decisions can negatively impact historically marginalized people in our community,” Wade said.
The City of Fort Collins has made budget cuts to address an estimated $31 million revenue shortfall in 2020 in response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget for next year reflects an additional $13 million reduction to balance reduced revenues as the economy is still recovering.
City Council is scheduled to consider the first reading of the 2021 budget adoption ordinance on Wednesday, November 4. Those participating in the program, including mayors and city financial leaders, will be given guidance from finance experts in the public, private and academic sectors, engagement with their peers in workshops, and customized support and technical assistance.
Challenges the What Works Cities program will cover are as follows:
- Understanding, accessing, and spending COVID relief funds
- Financing that enables strong budget health
- Increasing revenues in a way that doesn’t disproportionately impact low-income families
- Incorporating an equity analysis into major budget decisions, including cuts
The new What Works Cities program will help city leaders navigate these high-stakes decisions with the latest data, trusted expertise, and peer input. The program also has a goal of setting the standard for how local governments respond to the budget crises and advance equity.
“This partnership across cities is a terrific opportunity to simultaneously support community and City Council priorities around both fiscal health and equity,” said Wade.
For more information regarding What Works Cities, visit: whatworkscities.org