Budgeting and Forecasting

From Clarity to Connection

Page from GFR

Residents often have no idea about the profound effects local government has on their daily lives. From maintaining streets to providing recreation services to supporting affordable housing, local government provides essential services. Learning how budgets affect those services and then engaging in the budgeting process helps residents shape the city they live in.

Nonetheless, openness and clarity around finances is something local governments often struggle with. When residents see city finances as closed and opaque, they feel disconnected. When residents are not involved in budget decisions, they feel disempowered. When residents cannot connect city spending to the services they receive, they feel disillusioned. The city’s interactive dashboards provide residents with the knowledge and opportunity to bridge that connection. In this article, four cities share their latest strategies for helping residents understand—and, in some cases, direct—where their tax money is going.