The Moral Budget Coalition came together during the 2021 Shelby County Budget cycle after seeing a need for including community voice in the funding priorities. We continued that work during the 2022 cycle by establishing the first-ever Community-Centered Budgeting Process. This process reflects individual, family, and neighborhood needs and calls on residents themselves to identify funding priorities and potential solutions based on their experiences.
To learn what the people of Shelby County prioritized most, we developed and distributed a survey and received over 300 responses. By a wide margin, respondents listed education as their top funding priority, followed by a tie for healthcare, mental health services, and housing. We then held a public session with the Mayor, County Commission, and community members to discuss the survey results and provide an opportunity for the community to get more information from the County government.
We still have work ahead to make sure the County (and eventually City) Budget matches the priorities of the people, and our long-term goal is to get a resolution passed that officially and meaningfully embeds Community-Centered Budgeting into the official Shelby County Budget Process. We are now looking ahead to 2023 and working with the Shelby County Office of Innovation to increase transparency and meaningful collaboration between the government and the people they serve. We will provide more updates in the new year about where the process stands, and we look forward to increasing community engagement with the budget.