Budget Simulator is a web app that allows people to be able to take part in the consultation process of deciding budgets but in a fun and easy way. No more having to spend hours reading complex documents as Budget Simulator allows you to be able to decide where you would like your councils money to go. In the case of Melbourne City Council, They have a budget of over $400 million to consult ratepayers on and to make it easier for ratepayers to understand, they have taken advantage of what Budget Simulator can do for them. People are able to go to a website and decide where they want to spend the money that council has.
With Budget Simulator, you are able to answer a wide range of questions that can be broken down into different areas of council. For example, Community Services, Assets, Water, Roading and so forth.
The major advantage that Budget Simulator has over traditional means of communicating financial information to the public is it’s ability to be able to show ratepayers what the benefits and disadvantages of deciding whether or not to cut spending to a particular area.
In my case, I decided that Melbourne should cut spending on building new buildings and the Budget Simulator has the ability to be able to tell me what the consequences are of such a spending cut will be on the city overall.
If you decided to increase spending in a certain area, Budget Simulator will tell you the impact of that spending decision will be in terms of the dollar amount and the impact upon the community.
One of the cool things about Budget Simulator is at the end of the process, people are able to view the consequences of their spending decisions and see in dollar terms how much they saved or overspent by.
In my case, I saved Melbourne over $40 million by cutting across the board. At the end of the process, people can submit comments to their council and submit their proposed budget to the council to be able to review.
Overall, Melbourne City Council are seeing the benefits that Budget Simulator can bring to the ratepayers of Melbourne and is a very good way to be able to get people to see what the impact of their spending decisions will be on the city.