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Polco News & Knowledge

A New Partnership Gives LWM Members Big Discounts on Leading Tech

 LWM Members Discounts on Polco

New Polco package gives LWM members access to the best data and engagement tools at a major discount. 

League of Wisconsin Municipalities (LWM) members can now access leading data and community engagement technology at discounted prices. LWM  partnered with  Polco to empower members with tools that promote transparency, fiscal responsibility, community involvement, and data-driven decision-making. 

An all-inclusive product package designed for our LWM members includes Polco’s Taxpayer Receipt, Housing Simulation, Budget Simulation, GPAL database, and Surveys & Polls.

Taxpayer-Receipt  LWM Members Discounts on Polco

Taxpayer Receipt

The Taxpayer Receipt shows residents a breakdown of where their tax dollars go, just like a traditional receipt. The tool makes it easy to communicate budgeting information, a common challenge for local governments. The budget transparency also fosters understanding and more trust in the government's handling of taxpayer dollars.

The City of Shakopee, Minnesota, implemented the Taxpayer Receipt for this reason. 

“I’ve worked in local government finance for the past two decades, and it’s always been a struggle to communicate our budget in a way that is relatable to residents,” said Nate Reinhardt, the City’s finance director.

housing simulation  LWM Members Discounts on Polco

The Housing Simulation

The Housing Simulation is an interactive map that visualizes where local governments can potentially build new housing. The tool is useful because new projects are often met with fierce pushback from residents, despite a national housing shortage. The tool builds mutual understanding between governments and residents by presenting the reality of a community’s housing situation and what new housing options are possible.  

The simulation is also beneficial internally. For example, the County of Santa Barbara, California, used the simulation to simplify a massive rezoning project and allocate enough land to build 5,000 new units. 


The Budget Simulation 

Similarly, the Budget Simulation imitates any local government’s real-life budget. Residents add or subtract funding to different areas of the budget based on their priorities until they are balanced. That could mean raising or lowering taxes, giving and taking from various categories, and other options. The simulation presents a simplified version of the budget, focusing on the most visible and relevant items to the public. The tool lets residents sit in the manager’s chair and experience for themselves how hard it can be to make tough choices.

The City of Norfolk, Virginia, runs the Budgeting Simulation each year to get a high-level view of priorities. 

“The simulations take a dense and dull subject, making it engaging, understandable, and exciting. We can also begin to explain the connections between revenues and expenditures and the relationships of a balanced budget,” explains Amanda Kostusiak, Norfolk’s Senior Budget and Policy Analyst.

Polco GPAL Database  LWM Members Discounts on Polco

The GPAL Database 

LWM members can also access Polco’s sizable database of public sources, curated and visualized in one place. The database, known as GPAL, is fed public data from the nation’s most trusted sources, such as the U.S. Census, the CDC, and the FBI. Polco and GPAL partners including, University of Madison Wisconsin, the Hoover Institution, and Harvard, hand-selected thousands of indicators to best measure community quality of life.

Accumulating the data and getting data pulled into visualizations can be an overwhelming task for governments. GPAL makes data-driven decision-making easier for local governments because it provides valuable community data all in one database, minimizing the time and effort of your staff. See case study for Pinellas County.


Surveying and Polling Tools 

LWM members also get access to Polco’s survey and polling tools. Polco provides a platform where local governments can build a panel of residents to survey or poll at any time. With its auto-weighting function, local governments have more balanced views of resident opinions. It also helps governments gain resident feedback faster than a town hall meeting. It was designed to cultivate a more collaborative experience than social media and ensures that governments only hear from residents within their community. 

LWM Members – Access This Package at Discounted Pricing!

Populations under 10,000: $1,500 per year per community; available to all elected officials (2-year contract minimum)

Populations with 10,000 or more: $1,500 per year for each elected official (2-year contract minimum)

Contact cheryl.stang@polco.us for more information or to request a demo of our LWM product package.

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