Budgeting and Forecasting

Paving the Way: Aligning the Budget with Your Mission and Values

Artwork from GFR

A good budget tells a story about an organization that is not captured by the financial statements. It describes what is important to the organization, how it funds its mission and vision, and how it provides value to the community. Laying this out in writing is important to all stakeholders, including employees. Governments need to provide the transparency that citizens expect, especially in times of financial uncertainty. This article shares two entities from my hometown that do this very well. The author spoke with William Chorba, chief financial officer of Cleveland Metroparks, and Peter Rancatore, finance director of the City of Lakewood, Ohio, on the process involved in aligning an organization’s budget with its mission and vision.

Both municipalities are in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Both are Ohio State Auditor and GFOA award winners. With calendar year 2021 budgets of $155.9 million and $135 million, respectively, the two are similar in size as far as estimated resources, number of employees, and diversity of services. Both are seen as leaders in innovation. And their budgets illustrate ambitious yet attainable vision and strategic plans; the documents are robust, detailed, and comprehensive.