County’s Budget Game Provides “Eye-Opener” for Residents
By Kathryn N. Jones
With a new fiscal year on the horizon, Leon County hosted its 10th session of the Citizen Engagement series on budget, where a custom-made game was created to show residents just how the process works for the county.
The Monopoly-like game was meant for residents to come in and attempt to balance a budget and to show some of the challenges the county experiences.
Just like in the real Monopoly game, the residents were given a budget and had to abide by it. There are certain things do’s and don’ts and each group was given a set of priorities.
Shington Lamy, assistant to the county administrator said, “What we want citizens to get out of today’s event is the idea of raise the veil. Also to get an idea of how it exactly all happens and some of the challenges we have to deal with and the opportunities.”
County Commission Chair Mary Ann Lindley discussed some challenges that Leon County has ahead of them. For example, the sheriff wants to do a salary evaluation for all the men and women who work for the department, which Lindley said “could end up costing a lot of money that we – at the moment – do not have.”
Some other challenges Lindley discussed was the fire protection services. She said fire costs have gone up every year. So, there is a possibility that the county will have to raise fees for fire services, she said.
The demand of sidewalks throughout the community is one of the biggest demands that the county is facing. Lindley said there are 10 times more requests for sidewalks than any other request.
After the game was finished, participants stood and discussed how they would use their budget.
Lamy said, “Maybe there is an idea that draws from one of these tables that we didn’t think of that citizens can provide.”
“We want citizens to understand that they are a co-creator, the county can’t do it alone. It takes citizens and county government working together to shape the community,” said Lamy.
Lindley said that she has a feeling that the citizens find these types of events very eye opening.