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City of Menlo Park – Budget Surveys Story

Case Story

Community:City of Menlo Park (San Mateo County)
Population: 31,490

Summary: Multiple Survey Formats

Menlo Park, located on the southern San Francisco Peninsula, worked with consultants to distribute a budget survey in three formats:

  1. A mail survey sent to every resident and business;
  2. An open online survey; and
  3. A phone survey of a representative sample of residents.

The survey was available in Spanish and was also distributed at schools for students to take home.

The survey gathered information about community priorities by asking residents to balance the budget using strategies that would reduce costs and/or increase revenue. The mailed survey included information about city services, their current costs, the potential impact of cost reductions, and potential revenue options.

Public officials used the results from the surveys to develop budget-balancing strategies, which community members discussed in follow-up workshops. The city finance director believes the effort helped inform residents about city services and how much they cost.

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