County Takes Step on “Community Outcomes”

As part of their ongoing budget discussion, Washtenaw County commissioners have given initial approval to a set of desired “community outcomes” tied to five budget priorities previously identified by the board. The action took place as the board’s Nov. 6, 2013 meeting. [.pdf of community outcomes resolution]

The board had approved the budget priorities at its July 24, 2013 meeting. The priorities are weighted in order of importance:

  1. Ensure a community safety net through health and human services;
  2. Increase economic opportunity and workforce development;
  3. Ensure mobility and civic infrastructure for Washtenaw County residents;
  4. Reduce environmental impact.

The board also had set an additional priority of internal labor force sustainability and effectiveness.

Although the proposed budget has been an underlying topic of discussion throughout the year, three meetings focused primarily on that issue: budget retreats on March 7, 2013 and May 16, 2013, and a July 11, 2013 working session. The four budget priorities were distilled from those conversations, according to the resolution passed on July 24. [.pdf of budget resolution] [.pdf of budget memo and supporting materials]

The July 24 resolution about budget priorities also directed the county administrator “to lead a structured and transparent process by which the Board, representatives from throughout the organization, and community partners engage collaboratively to develop a balanced budget proposal that (1) aligns the organization’s programs and services with the Board’s four priorities, and (2) includes a summary set of ‘community outcomes’ that declares benchmarks related to the Board’s priority areas.” The board has named the framework for this budget decision-making process: “Community Impact Investing.”

As an example of the community outcomes, for the priority of ensuring a community safety net through health and human services, the outcomes include:

1. Children in Washtenaw County will have access to care, support, and developmental tools they need to be ready to ensure success throughout graduation, college, or employment;
2. Washtenaw County residents will have ready and affordable access to health care in order to achieve optimal health and increase life expectancy for all residents;
3. Washtenaw County residents will have affordable and safe housing and transportation options;
4. Washtenaw County residents will be food secure and have ample access to healthy foods that are locally sourced;
5. Washtenaw County residents will be safe and secure at home and in their community.

A final vote on the full set of outcomes is expected at the board’s Nov. 20, 2013 meeting.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main. A more detailed report will follow: [link]