New Resources to Help Involve Your Community

A variety of resources designed to help local officials are now available from the Institute for Local Government (ILG). These materials focus on involving the public in local budgeting, working with local clergy and congregations, and public engagement stories.

Involving the Public in Local Budgeting

Budgeting presents a challenge even in the best of times, and these are not the best of times for many cities in California. Local officials in communities throughout the state are expressing interest in more effective ways to engage the public in local budgeting decisions, which are often very difficult (for more information, see “Cities Engage Residents in Budget Planning.”)

Such public involvement results in residents who are better informed about the budget and the budget process, as well as decision-makers who benefit by the information and guidance residents contribute in developing budget plans. Another benefit is the development of greater community support for the final budget decisions.

In response to this growing interest, ILG has published A Local Official’s Guide to Public Engagement in Budgeting (online at The guide contains stories of how cities and counties are involving residents in local budgeting as well as best practices to ensure the most strategic and effective public engagement.

Additional information and resources for successfully engaging the public in budgeting can be found on the ILG website at Principles of Local Government Public Engagement, available at, also provides helpful guidance.

A session on involving the public in budgeting will be offered at the December 2010 Municipal Finance Institute in Monterey. The session will begin at 7:45 a.m. on Dec. 10. For registration information, visit

Resources to Work Effectively with Clergy and Congregations

ILG’s Public Engagement and Collaborative Governance program has also recently published A Local Official’s Guide to Working with Clergy and Congregations ( andcongregationsguide).

The guide presents ideas to enhance local agency working relationships with clergy and congregations in their respective communities. Such partnerships can:

  • Extend local agency information, education and outreach;
  • Deepen and diversify a local agency’s public engagement efforts; and
  • Generate partnerships to support local agency programs and services. 

Examples from throughout California are included as well as practical recommendations on how to make such partnerships successful. The guide is funded by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, with many examples drawn from the foundation’s service area. For more information, visit

Share Your City’s Stories

ILG is adding additional public engagement examples to its website and invites local officials to identify and share their own efforts to involve residents in local decision-making. A convenient form for sharing these stories is posted at or contact Wendy Chang at

ILG is also updating its roster of citizen academies and other local leadership development initiatives. To add your city’s efforts to this developing statewide list, contact Carmen Pereira at

New Day Labor Center Resources

For local agencies interested in day labor centers and related issues, visit for a California roster of these centers and related information and resources. 

This article appears in the November 2010 issue of Western City
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