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Lets Balance

A Budget Simulation Game

The Let’s Balance! budget simulation game was created as part of the Citizen Engagement Series to provide participants with a first hand look at the types of decisions the Leon County Commission has to make over the course of the budget process. Leon County’s budget process typically begins in December with the annual Board of County Commissioners Retreat and ends in September after the second public hearing on the adoption of the budget. The Let’s Balance! Budget process packs ten months worth of action into a 45-minute simulation to a balanced budget.

Tallahassee Democrat

The revenue/expenditure options are the type of scenarios Leon County Commissioners weigh during the budget process. The analysis and impact provided on the revenue/expenditure cards contain the type of information County Commissioners use to vet the ramifications of each option on the community and on the overall budget.

Budgeting reserves is another area Commissioners have to address during the budget process. Let’s Balance! provides participants the opportunity to use reserve funds to balance the budget. However, participants have to maintain the reserve policy requirements.

The Commission is reminded that it does not operate in a vacuum when faced with budget impacts such as natural disasters and unfunded state mandates. These circumstances are simulated through Challenge Cards that are read periodically throughout the game.

If you are interested in bringing Let’s Balance! to your organization or event, click on the following link to download all the necessary material. For more information regarding Let’s Balance!, please contact the Leon County Office of Management and Budget at (850) 606-5100.

Click here to download material.

Upon completion of the download, be sure to extract the contents of the zip file, which will create a folder called "Lets Balance Budget Game Files." If you don't extract the contents, it's likely you'll receive an error message when trying to open the files. Once the files have been extracted, the zip file can be deleted. A file and two folders will be contained in the "Lets Balance Budget Game Files" folder:

PLEASE READ - Instructions to Customize.pdf
Instructions and information on how to develop Let’s Balance! for your jurisdiction.

Leon County Version Folder
Contains all the files — mostly PDF files — necessary to print and play Let’s Balance, including documents for participants, game pieces, information for facilitators and a presentation explaining the basics of the game.

Blank Version Folder
Contains PDF files similar to those found in the Leon County Version Folder, but also includes the the original Adobe InDesign files used to customize the game pieces. Customizable game pieces include challenge cards, expenditure cards, the game board, “money,” priority cards and revenue cards. For each of these components, there is a corresponding Adobe InDesign file and an Adobe .IDML file. The .IDML file is compatible with Adobe InDesign CS4 and later versions.

Please note: Because of Let’s Balance! budget game’s varying graphics and printed pieces, it’s necessary to use graphic design software if you want to tailor the game with images and text specific to your jurisdiction. Adobe InDesign is the industry standard for such projects. It may be necessary to reach out to someone within your organization who is familiar with InDesign in order to make the customizations, which can be as simple or as in-depth as you choose. For example, you may want to simply add your logo to the game board and cards, but leave everything else as-is.