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Polco News & Knowledge

Why Community Input and Priority Based Budgeting Go Together, Perfectly

- By Matt Fulton, VP of National Engagement -

Aligning resources through Priority Based Budgeting with community values maximizes opportunities for strategic success and financial stability. 

For this very important reason, the Polco / National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) team sees much value in participating with ResourceX Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) trainings and events, like the recent PBB Summit in Denver. You gain a much better appreciation for this smart budgeting approach when you are able to listen and interact with practitioners and leaders who are committed to moving their communities forward. 

Expert Speakers_PBB Summit 2019_Community Input and PBB Go Together

See the 2019 PBB Summit Photo Album

PBB is especially important given the demographic, social, and economic changes experienced in communities today. Better budgets reflect the current values and needs of the community at large. That means civic engagement and priority based budgeting fuel, support, and complement each other at every stage.

But maintaining a solid understanding of community values and expectations is a huge challenge. It is an especially difficult task getting busy residents to engage in helping identify budgeting priorities that build toward a higher quality of life at the neighborhood or city level. 

Still, community input is critical for truly understanding overall priorities and values. 

So what is the best way to get important public input for PBB when traditional ways, like meetings, don’t generate the attendance you want?  

Dynamic changes in technology clearly impact how communities deliver services and benefit from data to help inform decisions. That’s why Polco and NRC created online engagement and survey research tools that can help communities with their strategic planning and budgeting efforts.

National Research Center is well known for its scientific community surveys and expansive benchmarking database. More than 500 communities across the country have benefited from The National Community Survey (The NCS) over the past couple decades. 

Polco / NRC's Angelica Wedell and Matt Fulton present on civic engagement with PBB. Polco / NRC's Angelica Wedell and Matt Fulton present on civic engagement with PBB.

NRC’s innovation lab has recently aligned The NCS and a web-only version, powered by Polco, to serve the needs of PBB. These two options help local governments identify values and track performance in a way that integrates easily into ResourceX’s PBB program.

Polco is timely and easy to use for local governments and makes resident participation convenient. The platform uses technology to help communities get sentiment from residents on local issues, projects, and priorities. It is an ideal, online tool for allowing decision-makers to understand the values of a broad base of residents and stakeholders...most of whom may never attend local meetings. Polco’s approach can verify residents apart from other respondents and append demographic information, giving you confidence about the sentiments expressed. Residents who respond to your questions on Polco remain subscribed and engaged - creating an online resident panel you can continue to hear from. 

Matt Fulton engages with local government budgeters at the 2019 PBB Summit. Matt Fulton engages with local government budgeters at the 2019 PBB Summit.

Understanding resident priorities for budgeting does not need to be difficult, overly expensive, or hard to administer. ResourceX and NRC / Polco tools together can help you correctly define community values and effectively inform your next municipal budget. 

Learn more about National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) at www.N-R-C.com and the Polco engagement platform at www.Polco.us

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