City of Cambridge seeks input from citizens on budget

The city of Cambridge is seeking input from citizens and business owners on the city’s 2018 budget and tax levy using a software called “Balancing Act.”

According to Chris Adams, CEO for Balancing Act, “Balancing Act is a fun and easy way for residents to learn about public budgets and the choices their elected officials face in the budgeting process. It allows participants to try allocating funds—expressing their priorities and preferences—but also requires them to balance spending and revenue. Balancing Act was designed for those individuals interested in taking an active role in making their community better by sharing their voice.”

While the current draft of the 2018 budget is a “work in progress” it is based on a 5 percent levy increase. The City Council is seeking your input on what services residents and/or business owners would cut if a decrease in the city’s levy is desired. Please note that decreasing the city’s levy does not automatically mean lower property taxes because Isanti County and Cambridge-Isanti School District’s levy also affect your property taxes. If their levies increase, you may not experience a decrease in your overall property taxes if the city’s levy is decreased.

There is no doubt that Cambridge is a growing community which creates additional needs for city services. However, the Council is also sensitive to the fact that people are concerned about their property taxes so they are seeking input on Balancing Act.

Visit the City’s website at www.ci.cambridge.mn.us and click on the article on Budget Engagement under featured news. The first step is to get your “Property Tax Receipt” which will break down the amount of money you currently pay for a variety of city services. After you get your property tax receipt, click on the Balancing Act icon to start the levy exercise. The system will require you to enter your address when submitting responses. The address allows the city to be sure that the information they are getting truly comes from city residents or business owners.

Send your comments in before July 31, 2017 as the Council is meeting in early August to work on the 2018 budget. City staff will be available to talk about Taxpayer Receipt and Balancing Act and assist you with it on July 27 from 10 a.m. to noon and from 6-8 p.m. at City Hall, Council Chambers, 300 Third Ave. SE.

If you have any questions about Taxpayer Receipt and Balancing Act, contact Caroline Moe, Director of Finance at 763-552-3202 or [email protected]