You can boil down the City of Asheville’s proposed 2015-2016 Annual Operating Budget a number of ways. With an interactive tool by DemocracyApps in collaboration with Code for Asheville you can sort through the City’s proposed expenditures and expenses in an easy-to-understand format.
For the second year, the volunteer group Code for Asheville partnered with the City to break the numbers down in a sortable online tool. Available at avlbudget.org, the site features a budget map as well as a “show me the money” portal leading to sources and uses of public funds. And for comparison purposes there’s a “what’s new” tab that details how the new budget differs from the current one.
“We are really fortunate to have partners like DemocracyApps that not only create amazing tools like the Asheville Budget Explorer but also create meaningful opportunities for citizens to engage with their local government,” said Scott Barnwell, the City’s Business and Public Technology Manager.
As City Councilman Gordon Smith put it, avlbudget.org “is full of charts, tables and other ways to get your head around this complicated document.”
Some spending highlights:
- 3.6% overall increase in spending
- $1 million increase in public safety
- $354,000 increase in environment and transportation
- $350,000 increase for seasonal/temporary staff living wage
- 1.5 cent property tax increase to 47.5 cents per $100 assesses value
- 4% increase in sales tax revenue
- 12% decreed in licensing and permitting revenue
- Water Resources rate changes will generate $465,000 in new revenue
“The app takes a technical document and makes it more accessible to the public,” said Dawa Hitch, the City’s Director of Communication and Public Engagement. “Having the community engaged in the budget process is priceless.”
The proposed budget totaling $154,315,775 was presented to City Council on May 26, 2015. It is a balanced budget with a property tax rate of 47.5 cents per $100 assessed valuation, which represents a 1.5 cent increase over the current year tax rate.
Asheville City Council adopted the budget at its June 23.