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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Budget Troubles in Colorado

From DenverPost.com: Denver: "The (Denver Community Court), which started in 2003 as a pilot project, will run out of city money by 2006...The court takes cases involving juveniles in seven northeast Denver neighborhoods...who get tickets for small violations such as shoplifting, vandalism or school fighting. It redirects the cases from regular juvenile court to the neighborhoods where the crimes occur.  Since its inception, the court has applied community-building and problem-solving techniques to more than 1,000 juvenile cases....[T]he court doesn't just punish, but also prevents crime through community service, literacy and substance-abuse programs. And it gives kids the chance to right what they did wrong.  'If you bust up Miss Jones' fence, we get hammers and nails and fix Miss Jones' fence,' Johnson (the court's community service coordinator) said." Story...

Fort Collins and Northglenn: These "[t]wo financially strapped Colorado cities are using a new budget system that turns services such as police protection into products and transforms city councils into wary customers....(Due to $8 million budgetary cuts and shrinking tax bases, both cities have adopted) the "Budgeting for Outcomes" approach...(having) abandoned the standard approach of budgeting, which usually focuses on regular yearly increases for services and departments...The new approach - developed by a consortium of former city managers and school superintendents - calls for cities to link goals to funding, ensuring budgets stay stable....A city may set a certain goal, such as a low crime rate, and then ask departments to meet that goal based on spending limits.  Departments then come back with offers on how to meet the goal - more police foot patrols or better lighting for parks - with hopes of winning funding"..."'It's a lesson in salesmanship'...(and) 'survival of the fittest.'" Story... [Mark Godsey] 

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