Leon County, Fla.
Participants got to experience the process of developing and balancing the County’s budget. The recently trademarked “Let’s Balance!” game led participants through a budget balancing exercise that informed participants of the fiscal opportunities and challenges that the County faces. Participants were divided into teams of five or seven and given 50 minutes to balance the budget. The exercise included addressing deficit projections, reduced revenues, and increasing expenses. Developed internally by the Office of Management and Budget, the budget balancing exercise gave participants the opportunity to experience the many obstacles and challenges that elected officials and staff regularly face when developing a budget while being prudent with taxpayers’ money and providing high quality services. This series allowed each participant to familiarize themselves with the collective decision-making required by Commissioners during the development of the budget. As the participants quickly became aware, this collective decision making often leads to lengthy discussion and compromise. After the exercise was complete, participants and staff engaged in a thoughtful discussion on the approach taken by each team to balance the budget. A video of the "Let's Balance!" activity and participant reactions can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fa7WSvZzNcE