With the city in the middle of its budget approval process for fiscal year 2022, city staff is working to demystify the massive document with an easy-to-watch video.
“It was an easy way to give a snapshot to our residents,” said Durango City Manager José Madrigal. “They can go and see the video, and basically walk away with the gist of a budget without having to go through the hundreds and hundreds of documents and pages.”
The video details some of the major projects and goals detailed in the upcoming year’s budget.
Two big concerns Madrigal hears from residents when talking about budgets are worries about tax increases and questions about what new things the city is providing in the coming year.
“When someone asks what they’re getting out of the budget this year, that’s always tough to show in the pages of the budget,” Madrigal said. “That’s what our video was really entrenched to say, is here’s what you’re getting and here’s why.”
Much of what residents receive from the city’s budget has to do with the city trying to fund projects that meet the goals of the city’s strategic plan.
Goals like enhanced livability, diversity and equity, and affordability and economic opportunity are highlighted in the video.
“We’re looking at doing things like disability improvements in our Parks and Recreation areas and in our streets,” Madrigal said. “We need to figure out how we can allow those people with disabilities to safely use our services without fear of being hit by a car.”
He said the big things coming up for residents are a number of capital improvement projects to update things like the city’s water and sewer infrastructure, improving Parks and Recreation amenities, and expanding transportation networks.
A cost increase residents will notice is a $2.22 rate increase on water and sewage.
“That’s to keep up with operation costs and fund some capital improvements that we need to accomplish so that we can continue to maintain and enhance our system, Madrigal said.
The city’s budget video is one of a number of efforts city staff members are making to provide residents with more transparency of city operations.
Another large effort on that front was the launching of the city’s OpenGov website earlier this year. OpenGov is a transparency tool that provides residents with real-time information about city spending.
Madrigal said he hopes to continue to provide residents insight into city operations with the launching of a new video series where he will try to answer common questions he receives from residents.
“We’re really trying to address any topics that come up where we get questions and see a pattern developing,” he said. “We can begin to put these videos up for residents so they can kind of learn a bit about city operations and why we do what we do.”