Including community members in the city budget process is essential to building community trust. Explore engagement options (and the benefits of community participation) to improve outcomes for both your team and your community.
Share Your City Budget Through Community Engagement
Sharing your city budget should benefit both your team and your community members. Common public engagement options include:
Surveys — Surveys give you direction as to where your community would like to see growth and improvement
Advisory boards and committees — These groups offer a new outlook on budget priorities and can help build budgeting transparency and buy-in within the community
In-person forums/focus groups — Giving community members an opportunity to hear from you and their fellow community members creates a collaborative space to answer questions, alleviate pain points, and move together as an aligned unit
Online mapping — This includes the use of online tools and technologies that can show community members potential projects and the costs associated with them
Online workshops — Via virtual meetings, residents have the opportunity to voice their ideas and support the suggestions of others
Social media and the web — By providing information to the community online and via social media, where many residents already spend a good deal of time, you can help educate and spread awareness about the city budget and inform residents of upcoming budget planning events.
Benefits of Public Participation in City Budgeting
Everything your department does directly impacts the people who live in your community. Including residents in your budget planning introduces a handful of advantages, including:
- Giving community members the chance to learn more about the projects that directly impact their neighborhoods
- Creating an understanding of limited resources, and how those resources will be allocated
- Building trust in your leadership and your team
- Offering citizens a chance to take ownership of the projects supported by the budget
- Providing insights that allow citizens to monitor the outcomes of the budget (and timelines for project completion)
Make Your City Budget Easy to Understand
Community members know their community well (including what it needs to improve and grow) — but they may not be familiar with the technical and financial language often used in city budgets. Consider using visual aids (e.g., charts, tables, graphs) to help community members understand the budget and allow them the opportunity to weigh in on its structure and balance.
Make the Most of Your Budget
SAFEbuilt is immersed in the city planning and development process. From grant writing to project management, we can help devise a plan to assist your municipality as it works to expand its budget portfolio utilizing county and state resources.