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Finance department provides a budget simulation tool - figure out how you would send the money

News 100 redBy Staff

January 27th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During February City Councillors will be debating the Operations budget which threatens to come in at more than 4% higher than last year.

Councillors are now going through the 436 page document and preparing BAR forms (Budget Action Request) that set out what changes different members of Council want made.

This is the place where pet projects get advanced. If a council member can drum up enough support and get 4 of the seven votes the project becomes part of the budget.

What will get a little tricky is the desire to keep the tax increase as low as possible and at the same time deliver something that matters to the people who voted for you at the same time.

These will get debated during the month.

The plan is to have an agreed upon budget before city council to be approved on March 3rd.

This year, the City is piloting an educational budget simulation tool, Balancing Act, to educate the public on the City’s budget and highlight the challenge of maintaining and improving services to the public, with limited sources of revenue. Using this tool, the public can simulate where they would recommend City Service budgets be amended to either increase or reduce overall spending and revenues.

The “simulation” exercise lets people decide what should be kept in the budget and what could be left for another time. This is an exercise for people to see what the impact of their choices would be – it won’t be taken by city hall as your advice to them.

It’s a little on the complex side but it is worth the effort.

The approach the city takes to the creation of the budget is to present it in what they call a Services Delivery approach. All the expenses are pulled together into one of seven categories.
You will see a list of where the city spends the tax money and other sources. There are seven categories.

city services graphic

The Service Delivery categories put the spending into groups that make it easier to see where the tax dollars are going.

Simulation 1st page

See if you can come up with a different allocation of the tax money and still have a balanced budget. Have fun.

There is a link to get to the simulation program.

Anyone who thinks they might have what it takes to be a member of council is well advised to try their hand at budget making.

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