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  • Writer's pictureErika Andresen

Back to Budget

What do you notice in September? A whole bunch of seemingly needless projects starting. That perfectly fine sidewalk being torn up to be replaced. Why? It’s the last month of the fiscal year and there is a need to spend money before it is taken away for the next year.

Do you know what is a program you can spend money on annually and not waste any of it?

Business continuity!!

Yes, fiscal years that end September 30th are government related and I have been espousing that local governments and their departments need to be doing business continuity. Here is how that money gets spent (wisely) and not wasted.

But government isn’t a business! So? The principles matter, and other government entities do business continuity (courts [so the wheels of justice never stop turning]; critical infrastructure; federal government), there is no reason local governments shouldn’t be doing it.

First, paying for a plan. A plan is not a one-and-done project. It is a living document. For it to be effective it needs to be trained and exercised.

Second, exercises can run the gambit of cost based on how big and realistic the exercise is. What is each exercise? An opportunity!

Opportunities lead to learning and improving. Exercising a business continuity plan will not only create familiarity with the steps, but also create a more natural flow to the response. Pretty soon it won’t be A to B to C, it will be “we’re at A, we need to get to C but there isn’t B…so this is what we can do!” Your plan becomes a playbook! That creates agility and agility is a big factor in success.

Are exercises one-and-done? Nope! There are always changing circumstances. Maybe last year when you did an exercise that required travel to a different site, this year a big months-long construction project has blocked off the planned route. Better to know that in advance when it is a dress rehearsal.

It’s also an opportunity to re-write your plan to reflect what’s going on and any new issues!

Lots of preparedness and mitigation measures compete for limited budgets with things that are more solid, concrete (pun is totally intended), and sexy. But what’s sexier than instant elevated security and a better shot at not having to cease services?

If you knew money was being spent strategically on bringing a community back to normalcy after a disaster, you’d be much more pleased than it being spent on “repairing” a sidewalk that had nothing wrong with it…aside from being in an overbudgeted department from last fiscal year.

BTW, all these wonderful, good reasons to spend money also apply to businesses. ;-)

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