City releases online tools demonstrating how municipal budget works

(Photo courtesy of the City of Windsor)

Ever wonder how the City of Windsor sets its budget?

The public can find out with three online tools designed to give residents a better understanding of how tax dollars are spent and provide feedback ahead of budget deliberations.

Two of the tools will be familiar. The city introduced the Budget Balancing Simulator and the Tax Receipt Generator last year.

“These new engagement tools help keep residents informed and educated on where their property taxes are being spent,” said Chief Financial Officer Joe Mancina. “This is also an excellent opportunity for residents to let us know what their spending priorities are while experiencing the careful considerations required to ensure our budget remains balanced.”

What’s new this year is the Prioritize tool. Residents can input their priorities for the upcoming ten-year capital plan. Users can select the capital investments that are important to them and rank their preferences.

With the Budget Balancing Simulator, residents can adjust the city’s operating budget by increasing, decreasing, or maintaining service spending. That includes funding for policing services, fire services, infrastructure, human and health services, and economic development and innovation.

Once you’ve made your adjustments, a coloured pie chart is updated to reflect the percentage of spending on each service.

The Tax Receipt Generator allows residents to input their 2022 municipal property taxes and generate an estimate of how their tax dollars are spent. The receipt can be downloaded and shared on an online portal.

The 2022 ten-year capital plan invested $1.6-billion in local infrastructure. Of that, $510-million went to roads, sidewalks, and streetlights. Another $454-million went to sewer work and flood prevention, and $167-million was spent on parks, playgrounds, and trails.