D10 Councilman initiates discussion to adopt a zero-based budget

Published on February 14, 2024

Council District 10 Clayton Perry   

SAN ANTONIO (February 14, 2024) – During today's San Antonio City Council B Session budget and finance report, Councilman Marc Whyte initiated a conversation on implementing a zero-based budget (ZBB) for the FY 2025 cycle. A ZBB starts from a “zero base,” and every function within an organization is analyzed for its needs and priorities. 

Budgets, starting from zero, are built around what is needed for the upcoming period with every department having to justify all of its budgeted dollars. According to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), ZBB was designed to move away from incremental budgeting, where the previous year’s budget was the starting point. Instead, the starting point becomes zero, with the implication being that past patterns of spending are no longer taken as a guarantee.

“We need to start over and look at how money is spent,” the Councilman said. “A zero-based budget gives us the best chance to ensure that money is spent in a way that gives residents the best return on investment while increasing accountability and transparency. This process holds the City more accountable for allocating funds based on expected results and desired outcomes rather than increasing each department's budget from the prior year's initial allocation. I’m confident that City Staff and my colleagues will want to further the conversation on how we can adopt a transparent zero-based budget in the near future.”