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Online Tool Lets You Create Phoenix City Budget

Phoenix has a new way to get more people involved in the city’s budget process. 

A new online toollets you decide how to spend over $1.4 billionthat make up the general fund. You can move money around, adding or subtracting funds from different departments. You can also decide whether to increase or decrease sales and property taxes. 

The tool called Fund Phoenixhas only rule — budgets must break even or have a surplus. You can add comments and submit your budget to the City Council. 

During an October meeting, Councilwoman Thelda Williams said she’s looking forward to getting citizen-created budgets. “It’s important to me to know what the responses are. I always think I know but I probably don’t," she said. 

Budget Director Jeff Barton said users will be asked to provide information like their age, race, gender and council district which will be compiled, analyzed and shared with council members and department heads on a monthly basis. He said a lot of other cities have used a similar tool and, “the first couple of years, the buy-in has been slow. You’ve got to really promote this thing.”

Phoenix will begin public hearings on the next budget this spring. 

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As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.