Calgary Experiments With Crowdsourcing Its Budget

In order to educate its citizens on how budgeting decisions are made, and inform decision makers on the priorities of its citizens, Calgary has engaged in an ambitious outreach process to get citizens to participate in drafting the city's budget.

As Nate Berg reports, the outreach program, titled "Our City. Our Budget. Our Future.", used an online budget-making tool that allowed the city to better communicate exactly what each department does and to educate citizens on the trade-offs that the city must make.

"The site was also adjustable so that citizens could see, for example, what a 5 percent cut in funds would eliminate from the parks budget, or what an extra 10 percent would add to the transportation department's plans for the year."

The site also served to give citizens a louder voice by proposing budgetary ideas and priorities in a novel format.

According the Mayor Naheed Nenshi, "We used to do things like open houses and town halls when we had those discussions. And what we learned this time around is that the open houses and the town halls are the most expensive and least successful part of the process."

Full Story: To Understand the City’s Budget, Write It

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