As part of the Town’s continuing effort to improve transparency, Arlington is announcing the launch of Arlington Visual Budget (AVB). AVB is a new online tool intended to provide the public with a visual representation of the Town’s financial history and outlook, as well as illustrate key trends. AVB allows users to dive into the budget like never before using graphics to more easily understand how tax dollars are spent.
“Increasing transparency and accessibility to financial information has long been a goal for the Town,” said Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine. “We hope this new feature will encourage users to learn more about Town finances and be more engaged in the annual budget discourse.”
Last year the Town conducted a public survey on how it communicates financial information. Residents overwhelmingly desired more concise, online information. In response, the Town and members of the Finance Committee worked with Involution Studios of Arlington, MA to conceptualize a web application that creates an easier way to communicate complex municipal financial information. Involution donated all development services of this project to the Town, the first known municipal budget visual representation of its kind.
“We were intrigued by the challenge of this project and, being from Arlington, very excited to work with the Town,” said Involution Studios Creative Director, Juhan Sonin, who is also personally a long-time Arlington resident. “We’re pleased with the results so far and look forward to how residents use the feature.”
AVB not only gives residents a fresh way to consider Arlington’s budget, but it provides definitions and explanations for some of the more complex municipal budgetary concepts such as “Override Stabilization Fund” and “MWRA Debt Shift.” Arlington Visual Budget will continue to develop over time and the Town welcomes feedback from users. To view the AVB and provide feedback please visit arlingtonvisualbudget.org and for more Town financial information visit arlingtonma.gov/budget.