City of Wichita unveils budget simulator

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WICHITA, Kan. (NEWS RELEASE) -

The City of Wichita today unveiled a new, online budget simulation tool that enables residents to weigh-in on how their tax dollars will be spent in the proposed 2020-2021 operating budget.

The budget simulator will be available through June 15 and the results will be published online prior to the City’s Social Media Town Hall on June 26.

“What became evident through last year’s budget process and our successful social media town halls is that the people of Wichita are very interested in this topic and want an opportunity to be more involved with how the City spends its resources,” said City Manager Robert Layton.

The simulator begins by asking residents to enter the appraised value of their property so the program can calculate their approximate property tax bill. The simulator will default to the average appraised value of a home in Wichita, or $137,000, if the user does not enter a value or does not own a home.

As the participant goes through the screens to make budget choices, the effect of each increase or decrease is displayed. The online budget simulator allows residents to provide feedback on General Fund services that matter most to residents such as police, fire, streets, libraries and parks. The simulator will also enable residents to see the impact of their changes on a simulated City of Wichita property tax bill. There is also a place to provide comments at the end of the simulation.

"We want taxpayers to feel like they have a say in the budget decisions we make," says the Vice Mayor.

Wichita citizens are excited to have more input on the city's spending. "I'm all for the police and fire and making sure they're supported and that they keep everything safe...I didn't realize how some needed services maybe didn't cost that much in my property tax," says Rory Oldenburg.

The City Manager will present a proposed spending plan to the City Council on Tuesday, July 23. Additional public hearings will be held on August 6 and 13. All meetings begin at 9 a.m. and are held in the City Council Chambers at 455 N. Main. The 2020-2021 budget is scheduled to be adopted on August 13, following the conclusion of the last public hearing.

The simulator can be found at https://wichita.budgetsimulator.com and will be available through June 15.