City of Virginia Beach Gets Citizens Involved in Budget Process by Partnering with Balancing Act

ARTICLE | Mar 24, 2016

Balancing Act is a web site that lets citizens tinker with the proposed 2016-17 city budget and suggest changes. Citizens can raise or lower individual taxes, and raise or lower individual spending items. The only catch: the budget must balance.

For every change in spending or revenue, there must be an offsetting change elsewhere. Lower taxes? Sure – but you must also lower spending somewhere, or raise taxes elsewhere, to balance the budget. Want more money for a favorite service? Absolutely – but show us where you’ll get the money by trimming another service, or raise a tax or fee.

Leave comments and hit SUBMIT. The City Council will get all suggested changes and comments.

“When we saw a demo of Balancing Act several months ago, we were impressed by how easy it is to use,” Budget Director Catheryn Whitesell said. “Now we want citizens to try it. There are hundreds of ways to balance the budget, and we spent several months on the city manager’s recommendation.”

Also, there’s another new online tool to see an estimate of how much residents pay in city taxes and what they get for their money. It’s called Taxpayer Receipt:

Anonymously enter your age, income, value of your home and value of your car. The tool will show you an estimate of your total tax bill and where the money is spent. The tool calculates taxes on real estate and personal property, and estimates taxes on restaurant meals and sales based on age and income. It does not include fees for water, sewer, trash and stormwater.

For more information, please visit the City of Virginia Beach.

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