Like municipal Monopoly, locals worked in groups to fund services including police, fire and road maintenance. Some player priorities weren’t surprising, such as an emphasis on establishing broadband infrastructure and funding parks. Other suggestions seemed more far-fetched, like selling the municipal cemetery and using prison labor. Then there was the idea of generating revenue by charging for an urban deer bow-hunting permit. While communities in Virginia, Arkansas and Indiana sanction such hunts, we’re not so sure if cautious Missoulians could stomach such a measure.
While we don’t necessarily expect to see Budget Game contestants serving in city government, it’s clear the exercise did exactly what Copple hoped it would—engage the public in a fun and educational process that normally inspires little more than a shrug.
© 2017 Missoula News