QUINCY -- For the first-time city residents will be able to try their hand at drafting their own balanced municipal budget for the city thanks in part to an online budget simulator according to the Quincy's top finance officials, City Treasurer Linda Moore and City Comptroller Sheri Ray.
"Every year, the city is challenged to fund increasing needs that our outpacing the available revenues," Moore said. "We want residents to understand public finance and what their tax dollars really pay for."
The simulator will be presented during a community workshop on Wednesday, Jan. 22, which is slated to begin at 6 p.m. at the Mercantile Bank, 200 North 33rd Street, Quincy. Participants are encouraged to bring their smartphone, tablet or laptop to the one-hour long workshop, which will include an overview of public finance and the simulator known as Balancing Act.
"We hope attendees will learn that much thought goes into presenting a balanced budget," Moore said. "Our hope is to make it very easy for our residents to participate in the budget process. Many residents can't or don't attend city council meetings; now they will have a way to provide meaningful budget feedback from their smartphone or other electronic device.
The budget simulator will be available on the city's website in mid-February. Until, then other workshops will be offered, based on demand.
"I would encourage interested citizens to attend the workshop at Mercantile to learn more about the budget and how the simulator works. Then, once the tool is available on the website, everyone can participate," Moore said.
The city is paying $5,850 for a one-year license to use Balancing Act.