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Online tool allows people to have a say on city budget

Locals can have their say on the city’s budget for the next four years. Starting on October 25th, people can visit an online tool called Citizen Budget. Mayor Bill Given says the tool will allow people to look at how each city spending change will impact their taxes.

“It allows residents to actually get in and make real-time decisions about different services, different service levels and to experience first hand the impact of the decisions that council might make and the relationship between those decisions and the ultimate property taxes that people pay.”

Citizen Budget was designed to teach people how tax dollars are divided between services, how changes to funding will affect taxes, and the challenges of balancing property tax increases and desired service levels.

In past years it has allowed residents to put in the approximate value of their home and then make choices about increasing or decreasing certain services. Given says he believes the tool is also a great way for the city to collect people’s opinions.

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“The survey tool collects information about the choices that people make. It really is sort of dual purpose as both an educational tool and an opportunity for residents to give their opinions about what their priorities might be for the 2019 budget year.”

People will be able to use the tool here until November 5th. The city will then go into budget talks on November 14th and 15th. During that time, council members will talk about city services and what their operating budget might look like until 2022.

The final budget is expected to be approved at a council meeting on December 3rd.

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