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Digital Public Engagement: City of Salinas $500 Budget Challenge

From the case study:

Summary

In 2013 the City of Salinas faced a challenging fiscal situation familiar to many jurisdictions. They had to address a General Fund structural deficit of $5 million in FY 2014-15, which would grow to over $12.7 million by 2019-20. The strategic approach they took to allocating their limited resources was Priority Based Budgeting with a robust public engagement component. By linking public input in a completely new and unique way to the city’s budget process residents were in a position of influence they had never experienced before.

More than 800 submissions of the mail survey were received (which came via postal mail and online). For the online challenge, 411 people read the email inviting them to participate in the $500 budget challenge. 297 people clicked on topics on the interactive Open Town Hall web pages; and 84 budgets were submitted. City officials were not surprised to find that top five results were directly related to safety.

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