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College Station launches interactive tool to get residents feedback on budget

Posted at 10:00 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 11:00:06-04

BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — If just thinking about balancing your personal budget gives you a headache, imagine, balancing one for an entire city.

The City of College Station is sharing the task with its residents' thanks to a new tool.

Before you say finances aren't for you, using the Balancing Act tool makes it easier to do.

Rachel Smith, the College Station Association Neighborhood's treasurer is testing out Balancing Act.

"The breakdown is nice. It's super convenient," Rachel Smith, treasurer of College Station Association Neighborhood said.

The City of College Station launched the tool Monday.

" Essentially click and things go up, and click and things go down and it will give you a bar at the top that tells you if you are balanced or not." shared Mary Ellen Leonard, director of fiscal services, College Station.

College Station has a budget of roughly 95-million dollars. Using this interactive tool, you control where the money goes.

"They're making choices- where should they spend money on parks. Should they spend money on police, or do they not want to spend money at all," Mary Ellen Leonard, Director of Fiscal Services, College Station said.

The bonus: Balancing Act does all the math for you.

"It's one thing to say you want to give everyone a raise and it's another thing to say, 'If I give everyone a raise, where is three million dollars going to come from,'" Smith said

The city launched Balancing Act to get feedback from residents during the pandemic and to educate the community about the process behind the decision making.

"Before you get upset at council members, it allows you to say, 'Well, here's what you're realistically looking at, so what would you do if it was you sitting here in council seat," Smith said.

"They'll be able to better understand and we'll all be able to better communicate with each other about how to be able to make that we're doing what we need to be doing," Leonard said.

Another big plus: people can contribute their thoughts at their leisure without sitting through a council meeting.

The average person spends only three or four minutes using the Balancing Act to get a balanced budget.

Here is the link to try for yourself!