This LEGO city helped explain the budget of Arlington, Texas. (City of Arlington, TX/YouTube)

This LEGO city helped explain the budget of Arlington, Texas. (City of Arlington, TX/YouTube)

Jay Warren works for the city. But his hobby is building with LEGOs. (Jay Warren)

Jay Warren works for the city. But his hobby is building with LEGOs. (Jay Warren)

In the video, a LEGO man tells how the budget works. (City of Arlington, TX/YouTube)

In the video, a LEGO man tells how the budget works. (City of Arlington, TX/YouTube)

The video even shows a LEGO city council. (City of Arlington, TX/YouTube)

The video even shows a LEGO city council. (City of Arlington, TX/YouTube)

The video was made using stop-motion animation. That makes the LEGO people and cars look like they are moving on their own. (City of Arlington, TX/YouTube)

The video was made using stop-motion animation. That makes the LEGO people and cars look like they are moving on their own. (City of Arlington, TX/YouTube)

Budget by . . . LEGO?!

Posted: November 1, 2021

Jay Warren loves LEGO bricks. He loves them so much he has built a LEGO city over several tabletops in his game room. This fall, all that LEGO love paid off.

“It’s a hobby,” Mr. Warren tells NBC DFW, “one that I’ve had since I was a kid.” Now all grown up, Mr. Warren has an important day job. He’s the Director of Communication and Legislative Affairs for the city of Arlington, Texas. One part of his job is to explain to Arlingtonians how the city spends the dollars they pay in taxes. Sounds boring, right? It would be. But Mr. Warren used LEGO to do it.

City videographers stopped in at Mr. Warren’s house. They found the whole LEGO city ready for filming. A lot of the work was already done! They used stop motion animation to make a four-and-a-half-minute LEGO video explaining the city budget. (Two things: A budget is a plan for spending money. Stop motion animation is a filmmaking technique where you move objects just a tiny bit at a time, photographing each movement. When you string the photos together, it looks like the objects are moving on their own.)

 Lights, camera, action!

“I love my city,” says a LEGO lady in the video. While she speaks, we get views of Mr. Warren’s city: streets, cars, buildings, a playground with flowers and trees, a café, the inside of a library, and more. “It has great parks for my kids, safe neighborhoods with friendly people, good libraries, and smooth roads.” Then LEGO lady asks, “How does all that get done?”

 “Good question,” answers a LEGO man. “Keeping a city running takes a lot of work, and it starts with the annual budget. Just like with LEGOs, the parts of the city’s budget come in a lot of shapes, sizes, and colors . . . .”

What must a city budget include? The video shows: clean water, trash pickup, police, road work, and more. A LEGO person drinks from a tiny LEGO cup. Itty bitty garbage trucks pick up trash. A little LEGO police officer chats with a LEGO citizen. A teensy LEGO construction worker uses a cute jackhammer to fix the LEGO road. Now that’s fun budgeting!

Why? Budgeting matters for citizenship on Earth and in heaven. God cares about how we steward what He entrusts to us.