City of Austin


The city’s Budget Office and Public Information Office collaborated to develop a community engagement initiative named Budget in a Box to facilitate conversations about city services, performance, property taxes, utility rates, and budget priorities. Created to simulate a board game, Austin’s Budget in a Box toolkit led residents through exercises that evaluated city services and their costs. Participants also made recommendations on whether they wanted to increase, decrease, or maintain the current level of city services. A key component of the toolkit was a staff-created eight-minute video on budget basics. This eye-catching animated video reviews the city’s services and explains the main sources of revenue and uses of the funds. The video also aired on the government access channel, was posted on city websites, and was made available on the city’s YouTube channel.

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