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Join us in shaping the 2023 City Budget

Over the course of May and early June, Mayor Carter held a series of virtual budget conversations where residents had the opportunity to build their own vision for our city budget. If you couldn’t attend those events, we invite you to tell us what priorities you think should be included in next year’s city budget.

Using a tool called A Balancing Act, you have the chance to select from a menu of spending proposals those you'd like to incorporate into a simulated version of our city budget. At the same time, you’ll need to decide how to raise the revenue needed to produce a balanced budget.

Here are a few notes and tips:

  • On the spending side, you’ll notice there’s a category called fixed costs. This represents the annual increase in costs for services the city currently provides. These costs include employee salaries, cost of gas, cost of building materials, the things that we need to run the City that we don’t have much control over. Your proposed budget will need to include a plan for covering these costs.
  • On the right side of the budget screen, you’ll see a list of opportunities for new investment. Click on the categories to see more specific options. All of these are set to zero, no new investment, by default, but if you see something you’d like to invest in, go ahead and choose the second option. When you do that, you’ll notice that the bar graph and the doughnut chart change to represent the total spending and the type of spending.
  • Click on the blue info button next to each spending or revenue option for more details on these items.
  • When you make a change to an item, a red warning symbol will come up. Go ahead and click submit to confirm the change.
  • If you have an idea for a new investment that isn’t listed, you can put it here, and put in an estimate for the cost or revenue. This allows for some flexibility to call attention to items that aren’t on the list. We do have these amounts capped at $5m and $1m respectively, just to stay within the scope of the amounts of money we’re dealing with in this exercise.
  •  After you decide what you’d like to make investments in, you’ll need to find a way to pay for everything. On the left, you’ll see some options to raise revenues. These include property taxes as well as a few other choices.
  • You can increase the property tax levy by 1%, and you can see the effects it has on the median household and on the City’s bottom line.
  • Of course, the ultimate goal is to have a balanced budget. You’ll know it’s balanced when the bar at the top turns green and says “you are balanced” or “you have a surplus”.
  • Once your budget is balanced, click the large SUBMIT button. Unlike the federal government, cities in Minnesota are legally required to pass a balanced budget. So, your simulated budget must balance before you can submit it.
  • All of your feedback will come straight to us and will be included anonymously as part of a final report for the Mayor.

You can access the budget simulation by clicking here.

Last Edited: June 9, 2022