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Wilmington uses online game to get budget feedback

READ MORE: Wilmington uses online game to get budget feedback

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Ever wish you could suggest how to spend city money or even take an axe to the budget? Now's your chance to start sharpening that axe. City leaders are working on Wilmington's next budget, and they want your input.

It's called the Budget Challenge. It's an online resource where you the citizen can pick and choose what money goes where in the budget. The question is, would you be a penny-pincher or a super spender?

The Budget Challenge is a first of its kind experiment. It's only a week old. It's so new that at least one City Council member did not know about it until we called asking about it.

City spokesperson Malissa Talbert says the goal is to get input from the taxpayers in order to shape the next budget.

"We are trying to get input in several different ways like public meetings or via e-mail, but we wanted something where if someone didn't want to come to a meeting and wanted to be able to do something at home on their own time and still provide input then this was a way to do that," Talbert said.

Anyone can access the budget challenge on the city's website. It breaks the the budget down to $100 with each dollar representing one percent of the budget. You can cut or increase anything you want in the budget except the deficit. Some residents think the city might be on to something here.

"As a taxpayer, I think I should have a say in how the tax dollars are being spent," Walter Fulton said.

For those who think the city won't seriously consider information gathered from this budget challenge, Talbert says think again.

"We really do want input, and in this particular endeavor we are tying to keep it at a high level," she said.

Fulton says he'd be more than happy to try his hand at shaping the city's budget.

"Yes, I would just to get an understanding of how city or county government works," Fulton said.

Folks are welcome to come out and give their two cents on the budget at the Wilmington city budget meeting.

That Budget Education Meeting is at 6 p.m. at the New Hanover County Arboretum on Oleander Drive. There's also be another budget meeting on October 26 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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