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Residents can offer online input on city’s budgeting process
The City of Redmond is seeking community input on its budgeting process through a new online campaign.
“Your City, Your Choice” launched at the end of May and will run through at least the first week of August.
Mike Bailey, the city’s director of finance, said they wanted to leverage some of the technology the city enjoys to get more people involved.
The website can be found at yourchoice.redmond.gov and features six informational videos about the city’s core budget priorities: safety, clean and green, vibrant economy, diverse and connected community, responsible government and infrastructure. These priorities were determined by citizens in 2008 during the city’s initial Budgeting by Priorities (BP) process. Through this process, city services are reconsidered through the prism of what citizens value most.
In addition to providing background on the priorities as well as the city’s BP process, Malisa Files, deputy director of finance for the city, said the “Your City, Your Choice” website is also interactive and gives participants the opportunity to tell city staff which priorities they value most.
“This is really more a poll of what the community values,” she said about the online activity.
Participants are given 12 tokens to “spend” on the six priorities however they see fit, though Files said they are limited to four tokens per priority.
Since its launch, Files said close to 1,900 people have participated in the “Your City, Your Choice” campaign. This number includes 155 people who participated at this past weekend’s Derby Days. The city had set up a booth at the annual festival and people were able to make their choices either by placing stickers on boards representing each of the six priorities or participating in the online poll using one of the Surface tablets on hand, provided by Microsoft, Corp.
Anne Marie Peacock, communications specialist for the city, said of the 155 people who participated, 47 did so by using the stickers, for a total of 561 stickers posted on the boards, and 108 used the tablets.
The “Your City, Your Choice” campaign is a partnership between the city and DigiPen Institute of Technology.
“They’ve always been great partners,” Bailey said.
He said DigiPen students produced the videos and animation that are on the “Your City, Your Choice” website. The students also put together the website itself.
Files said the students were a mix of undergraduate and graduate students, studying a variety of fields. She added that she mainly worked directly with four students as well as Raymond Yan, senior executive of DigiPen. While the city has partnered with the school in past on economic development, Files said this is the first time they’ve done anything together related to the budget.
Bailey said DigiPen is a big and significant part of the Redmond community and it is a big deal to have the school here in town. So when the city was thinking about a more digital way to connect with the community, the idea to partner with DigiPen naturally occurred. He added that the DigiPen community is always interested and eager to help and it has been beneficial for both parties.
“It worked very well,” he said.
In addition to “Your City, Your Choice,” citizens can make their voices heard by attending an upcoming public hearing on the budget during the Oct. 21 regular City Council meeting at 7:30 p.m. They can also email Files at BPQuestions@Redmond.gov.