MDB Insight Blog

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Find Practical Solutions to Your Municipal Budget Problems

Understanding your residents’ wants - and what they’re willing to pay for them - is necessary for creating strategies that provide the best municipal services. How do we ensure that every community, no matter the population or budget size, gets access to the tools it needs to thrive? MDB Insight has thought a lot about that question.

Increasingly, municipalities are turning to polling its citizens to gain a better understanding of their wants and needs. They are using this information to better inform priority setting and budgeting.

The RFP process allows you to hire the right polling company to get objective, in-depth information about your residents. Residents see RFPs as integral to municipal budgeting best practices. Proposals ensure your municipal budget stays accountable to residents, and should be used whenever your single source supplier or procurement policy for spending amount is going to be exceeded.

However, despite their necessity, we have to acknowledge that the RFP process may not be practical for all communities. RFPs utilize a lot of resources: staff have to write the RFP, receive and read submissions, assess and do interviews, follow up, negotiate, and create contracts - all before the project’s actual start date. You need a big budget to make RFPs work and that’s simply not a reality for every municipality-based public polling project.

How to Find the Intersection Between Your Municipal Budget and Residents’ Expectations

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Tools that can stand up to your municipal budget best practices are ones that go further than simply identifying the issues that are most important to your residents; they must also:

  • Provide insight into how satisfied residents are about the services they receive from the municipality and the municipal programs they use so you know what residents want and what they’re willing to pay for those municipal services

  • Analyze and measure the importance of those issues so you know you’re relying on more than the opinions of a limited number of people (the squeaky wheels)

  • Provide quality assured, quantifiable data to prove that the absence of an RFP does not equal the absence of accountability

A Better Kind of Public Opinion Polling Is Finally Here

Public opinion polling and tax survey tools like MDB Insight’s Citizen Satisfaction IQTM and Tax Sensitivity CalculatorTM can help you understand what your residents want and how to give it to them - and can do this for a fraction of the cost you may be expecting. Download this checklist to learn about more ways to manage budget disagreements.

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