The Need

Lago Vista, Texas is a lake-side community of 10,000 near Austin. Rapid population growth has strained the city’s infrastructure. Despite growth, state law constrains budget expansion, requiring the city to carefully prioritize spending.

City leaders wanted citizen feedback on the following five high-cost initiatives so they could confidently sequence them.

  • Repair water/wastewater infrastructure
  • Enhance city parks
  • Repair/resurface streets
  • Build new City offices/library
  • Renovate City golf course

The primary objective for City leaders was to prioritize the initiatives and to understand their reasons.

The OnPointe Solution

Studies like this are a challenge because each issue must be briefly explained so that all citizens have the same information and starting place. Education first – feedback second, in a 10-minute survey.

Our Education/Feedback approach:

  • The Issue:  (we share a short paragraph)
  • Why This Matters:  (we argue why addressing it is important)

After the brief “Issue” description, we presented an articulate argument for “Why This Matters.” Then we explored:

  • Would the person benefit?
  • Would the City benefit?
  • Is it a good use of taxes?
  • Would they support increased taxes?
  • Which is MOST important? Why?
  • Which is LEAST important?

The Outcome

Tracie Hlavinka, City Manager, raved about CitySPEND. She called it “a lifeline” that delivered far more than expected:

  • Citizens became engaged on the issues
  • It empowered the City Manager to confidently represent citizens
  • City staff and the City Council were able to align on strategic plans
  • The design allowed it to apply to many decisions beyond the initial scope
  • It was so positively received by citizens that it went viral with far more responses than expected

Tracy Hlavinka

City Manager, Lago Vista, Texas

“This information has been so vital for us. It worked far more than we thought it would. It not only delivered the priority of our initiatives but also guided our strategic plans and inspired other vital decisions.”

Leave a Reply