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Coates Connection Spring/Summer 2011

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S c h o o l o f G o v e r n m e n t , U N C - C h a p e l H i l l he School of Government has developed an innovative and engaging new simulation that can help public o!cials make strategic long-term budget choices, and help citizens understand the complexity of the local budgeting process. "e two versions# Budgetopolis for municipalities and Bo!om Line! for counties#are played like classic board games, but their lessons are serious. "e simulations are appropriate for elected o!cials, managers and sta$, citizen groups and advisory boards, youth groups, or a regional mix of o!cials. ""e game forces you to weigh community values vs. budgetary decisions," says Lee Worsley, assistant manager for Catawba County, "and gives a window into what elected o!cials have to deal with in balancing so many di$erent interests." T H E G A M E | Small groups of players take on the role of an elected board. Participants begin by agreeing on what they value most about their locality. In rounds that present real-world budget challenges such as state-mandated cuts and natural disasters, players are asked to balance the budget while considering the long-term impact of their choices on their community. Tim Holloman, town manager for Topsail Beach, said, "Citizens might be surprised by the challenging process of allocating expenses." To discuss how the game might be most e$ective with your jurisdiction or group, contact Lydian Altman, director of the of the School's Strategic Public Leadership Initiative, at 919.962.0103 or lydian@sog.unc.edu. Fees for facili- tated game sessions are based on individual requirements. "e creation of these budget games was made possible in part by generous support from Prudential Financial. To explore additional funding opportuni- ties, contact Ann Simpson, associate dean for development, at 919.966.9780 or simpson@sog.unc.edu. C oates C onnection S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 1 A FRESH APPROACH TO MAKING BUDGET DECISIONS How do local government leaders make the right budget decisions for their communities? What is the right balance between cutting expenses and increasing revenue? Two new budget games developed by the School of Government provide a forum for city and county officials to consider the long-term impact of difficult fiscal choices on their communities.

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