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Experience the Power of Resident Engagement in the Budgeting Process

The traditional budget process is based on line items and historical precedent. While this process does have some advantages, it falls behind rapidly changing needs and modern expectations. 

Fortunately, technology has made it possible for government finance leaders to get the data and community participation they need to transform the budget process.

Discover your community's most important needs, align your priorities, and enact supported decisions. Request more information to see how it works! 


Trust in Government is Eroding. Get The Data You Need To Transform the Budget Process

The changing nature of governing requires local jurisdictions to implement new best practices for the cornerstone task of governing: making a budget.

The Rethinking Budgeting initiative led by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) considers new ways of thinking, new technologies, and updated practices to better meet the changing needs of communities. In GFOA's more than six years of deep investigation into what’s working and what needs changing in budgeting, the GFOA has articulated three core functions to the future of budgeting, including:

  • Budgeting - allocating a local government’s limited resources
  • Planning - articulating a desired future state for the organization
  • Monitoring/Reporting - making sure that the commitments made during planning and budgeting are lived up to and maintaining an understanding of the environment

A foundational partner with GFOA for the last two years, Polco worked closely with government technology leaders to author the whitepaper A Roadmap for Real Collaboration in Budgeting, outlining an integrated approach to building effective budgeting in the modern age and launch the "Local Government Budget Survey" to find out where organizations currently stand with their budgeting processes. Polco’s tools support the Rethinking Budgeting cycle, particularly in the engagement and planning steps.

Engagement: From general surveys to simulations for residents to balance the budget to taxpayer receipts, Polco’s Engagement tools help you understand your residents - and help your residents understand the budget.

Planning: Our Track module contains an out-of-the-box performance measurement system jointly developed with ICMA, Stanford, and GFOA. You can use performance measures to inform plan development and track progress.

Register for a free account today to explore our tools for public sector budget and finance professionals.

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Explore Polco's data and analytics tools to start your journey toward rethinking budgeting.

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Experience Polco for Budget / Finance Officers

Get instant access to the self-guided demo for budget and finance leaders

See What Local Government Budget Leaders Can Do With Polco

  • Quickly engage your community - Collect feedback on budgeting topics with pre-written online surveys and polls, created by experts.

  • Conduct gold standard surveys - Access Polco’s premier assessment The National Community Survey (The NCS) to get a big-picture look at the quality of life in your community. Align budget decisions where they will make the most impact.

  • Easily understand community priorities - Polco’s Prioritize tool has residents rank their most important budget items so you can see what they care about most.

  • Build trust through transparency - Polco’s Taxpayer Receipt shows your residents how their tax dollars are spent. 

  • Put residents in your shoes - Simulations that have residents balance a budget that mimics your real-life constraints. Show community members what you have to work with and what’s possible.

See Why Hundreds of Other City Managers Use Polco for Better Budgeting

“Constituent interaction is critical and the City of Pittsburgh is using the Prioritize tool to reach groups that may not have been as engaged with the budget in prior years. We’re thrilled to have the tool in our Balancing Act arsenal!”
Patrick Cornell

CFO, City of Pittsburgh, PA

“The platform was accessible to residents of all backgrounds and allowed us to reach those who face the highest barrier to civic engagement [...] In this process, and with the simple and inclusive tool, we saw some residents who have never had the opportunity to vote before do so through the Prioritize tool.”
Kiki Turner

Program Administrator for the People’s Budget, City and County of Denver, CO

“...Balancing Act’s tools provide the protective gear to go into the fire.”
Caesar Garcia

City Manager, City of La Marque, TX

See How You Can Transform Your Local Government Budget Process With Quality Data

budget engagement tools

Build public understanding

Communicate key information on the budget in a simple and digestible way.

budget engagement tools


Residents see the same tough decisions you face every day with simulations that show your budget options.

resident input budget engagement tools

Collect better feedback

Gain deeper insight into how residents would make tough decisions with simulations that reflect your real city budget.

budget engagement tools

Provide simplicity and ease

Polco’s tools are visual, interactive, and easy to build and use.

Community Engagement in Local Budgeting Resources

See What It's Like To Bring Your Budgeting Process Into The Modern Era

Explore the variety of Polco’s budgeting engagement tools. Discover your community’s most important needs, align your priorities, and enact supported budgeting decisions.