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Budget Workshops


Opportunities for public information sharing, discussion and feedback on a county or city budget.

Keep in Mind

To be sucessful, budget workshops require good design and logistics, preparation of background materials, effective recruitment of participants, and skilled facilitation.

Why This Approach?

Budget workshops can offer the general public, as well as organized stakeholders, an opportunity to question, comment on, and shape budget goals and development.

For more information see the notes on the budget workshop approach to the right.

Video Examples

City of San Jose: presents a basic overview of their budget priority game.

Budget Workshops

Outreach and Education Case Stories From California and Beyond

Below are stories of local agencies using a budget workshop approach to involve residents in the budgeting process.

Case Story

Engagement Leads to Greater Trust for Town of Paradise

In the fall of 2014 the Town of Paradise’s Town Council embarked on a public engagement effort to gauge resident preferences around four priority budget areas: fire suppression, police, road maintenance and animal control. 

Case Story

City of Carlsbad – Budget Workshop Story

The City of Carlsbad has made a series of budget workshops an annual practice. Several types of outreach are used to recruit participants: utility inserts, newspaper ads and articles, and announcements at televised governing body meetings and on the agency website.

Case Story

City of Claremont – Budget Workshop Story

Claremont’s tradition of public engagement includes public participation in the agency’s biennial budget process. This process comprises a series of five workshops over six-month period where residents provide input on services funded by the city budget.

Case Story

City of Cupertino – Budget Workshop Story

A board game metaphor helped Cupertino engage residents in budget discussions. The “Balance or Bust” game was presented at the agency’s annual “community congress,” which has used different formats depending on current issues and leadership styles.

Case Story

County of Fresno – Budget Workshop Story

In this southern Central Valley community, a county supervisor organized a series of public workshops to involve the community in a thorny budget battle. The conversations unfolded against the backdrop of a campaign that pitted public safety against social services as a budget priority.

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