Budget Workshop



March - June, 2018

Each year, the Mayor proposes an Annual Budget for Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Despite this document being one of the most important in the city, there was relatively little engagement with it from residents. CivicLex decided to address this by creating a “Sectoral Budget Guide” and hosting a series of workshops on the City Budget.

CivicLex went line-by-line through the City Budget, a 737-page document, and broke out each expenditure into one of CivicLex’s 12 sectors. These sector expenses were then grouped together and analyzed to determine what portion of the city’s budget they were. This was then compiled into a main document called the CivicLex Sectoral Budget Guide.

CivicLex then held 5 in-person workshops at the Plantory, where participants learned what the budget does, how to read it, where the city’s money comes from, and where it goes.

These events were designed to help groups re-design the budget to better match their values. At each Budget Workshop, CivicLex staff split attendees into groups of 3-7 and had them reorganize sections of the budget to better match how they thought city revenues should be appropriated. Participants then had to justify to the rest of the workshop group why they made their changes, and how they would pay for them. Citizens left empowered with new-found knowledge, and encouraged to get involved with future participatory budgeting projects.


Statistics & Info:

  • People Directly Reached: ~170

  • People Reached In-Person: ~170

  • Government Workers Engaged: 13

  • Facilitated Communal Conversations: 15

Outcomes & Conclusions:

  • Our Budget work in 2018 was one of our most successful programs. Attendees expressed significant growth in their knowledge of how the budget process worked - and of its importance.

  • The Budget Workshops attracted individuals of a wide array of political thought, which we were especially pleased by.

  • Through an iterative process, CivicLex developed a fantastic way of helping individuals understand spending - by using a paper mat and pennies, each representing $1M.

  • After the Budget was passed, CivicLex staff met with the Office of Budgeting to review the Budget Guide, and see how we could better incorporate it into how the city presents its Annual Budget.