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Budget Education and Outreach

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How to share information about the budgeting process with your residents.

The community needs to know what you are doing and why. Otherwise, when people don’t have information and they have problems, they assume the worst.” - Mayor, Central Coast City

Keep in Mind

A public information and outreach strategy is an important first step in involving the public in budget decisions.

Why This Approach?

Taking steps to share information about the agency’s budget and budget process serves a number of important purposes. Such information enables residents to:

  • Better understand the budget and the local budgeting process;
  • Knowledgeably discuss budget issues among themselves and with decision-makers;
  • Understand the constraints affecting the allocation of resources; and
  • Reach more informed opinions about how limited financial resources should be allocated.

For more information see the notes on budget education and outreach on the right.

Video Examples

County of Santa Barbara: presents a basic overview of how their budget is created and how residents can get involved

Budget Education and Outreach

Outreach and Education Case Stories From California and Beyond

Below are stories of local agencies using a “Budget Education and Outreach” approach to involve residents in the budgeting process.

Case Story

City of Monrovia – Budget Education and Outreach Story

In October 2012, the City of Monrovia, CA embarked on an ambitious effort to develop the city’s Strategic Plan. The goal of “Plan Monrovia” was to align City services with its budget and resources and guide the preparation of the 2013-2015 city budget and set the city’s course for next five years.

Case Story

City of Lodi – Budget Education and Outreach Story

Community:City of Lodi (San Joaquin County)
Population: 62,134

Summary

City Manager Rad Bartlam presented a chart at an educational meeting on city revenues showing how $1 of property tax is divided and giving the the ins and outs of the Lodi’s almost 600-page budget.

Case Story

Orange County – Budget Education and Outreach Story

The Orange County Transportation Authority developed a ledger sized, tri-fold brochure known informally as the “Popular Budget.” The purpose of the brochure is to communicate fiscal, organizational and programmatic information to the agency’s constituents.

Case Story

City of Richmond- Budget Education and Outreach Story

The City of Richmond produces a Budget-in-Brief Handout that provides an overview of the operating and capital improvement budgets, includes the city’s five core strategic goals, and highlights accomplishments related to those goals.

Case Story

Brazilian Cities Recognized for Innovative Participatory Budgeting

Participatory Budgeting originated in 1990 in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil, and has since been adapted for use in over 1000 cities worldwide. This national tradition is being carried on by the Brazilian cities of Belo Horizonte and Recife. 

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