Transformation Team Focuses on Service-Based Budgeting


One of the most vexing challenges facing the Transformation Team is budgeting for the future. Conventional budget planning does not have the necessary tools to capture the changes envisioned for the future of California State Parks.

That is why the Transformation Team is focusing on a new way to calculate budgets called “Service-Based Budgeting,” better known as SBB.

“Service-Based Budgeting (SBB) is a comprehensive and fresh approach to facilitate the development of California State Park’s annual budget,” says Transformation Team Leader Steve Szalay. “It will help determine department’s annual budget based on the costs of operational tasks and activities that make up the major services the department provides.”

The result, says Szalay, is that executive staff will be provided the data they need to make effective budgetary decisions at different funding levels. It also offers a mechanism to establish mission-based budgets that can be used to monitor the costs of services delivered to the public, he notes.

What are the benefits?

  • The cost of each service that the department provides and proposes to provide can be identified.
  • The department can allocate funds based on objective tasks required in each park and the consistent application of their service delivery standards, rather than based on historical distributions.
  • It brings a consistent methodology to compare individual parks to identify underfunded areas and potential efficiency opportunities.
  • The department will have a data set to adjust service levels across programmatic areas as a function of its overall budget to help prioritize activities.

SBB calculates the costs to serve California State Park’s mission across 17 categories of services and programs. Each task that is delivered at a park unit or office is allocated to one service. On a park unit or office level, costs will be determined using a matrix that identifies programs, tasks and task drivers, justifications, deliverable standards, labor classifications and operating expenses and equipment.

Tasks and associated costs also will be arranged into “service levels” for each programmatic and service category.

So far, the Transformation Team has completed matrixes for most program areas; collected baseline costs for 17 program and service categories; and developed additional tools that will be required for department-wide application in development.

Data gathered through the SBB effort will be used to inform the 2017-18 Governor’s Budget process beginning in September 2016.


Photo: McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park


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