“History does not provide any example of capital accumulation brought about by a government. As far as governments invested in the construction of roads, railroads, and other useful public works, the capital needed was provided by the savings of individual citizens and borrowed by the government.” – Ludwig Von Mises
No one really thinks about their interior home plumbing or electrical systems until something fails. Similarly, no one thinks about the pipelines that distribute water to their homes, conveys wastewater away for treatment, or even the roads that they travel on until there is a failure. Like the plumbing and electrical systems in our home, some believe that you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken – however, if they knew a danger was lurking in their walls or they could prevent a larger more costly issue – they may move forward with the safest most cost saving option available.
The same could be said with infrastructure improvements, which is why a robust education and outreach plan can build momentum for a capital improvement program. Engaging community members offers them insight into the “unseen” world of public infrastructure. By clearly communicating the importance of the project, reasons for the plan, alternatives considered, and long-term benefits to communities will help stakeholders feel informed and provide an incentive to support the project.
At Capital Strategic Solutions, we know how challenging this can be for municipal leaders and the engineering firms that are hired to obtain public approval and support for the projects that are “out of sight and out of mind” by many members of the general public. Whether an infrastructure improvement program addresses an entire city or town or if it spans multiple neighborhoods, effective community outreach can make the difference between a project moving forward effectively or not moving forward at all. Open dialogue creates opportunities to improve plans, raise awareness of project activities and expedite project completion. In addition to keeping communities informed using fact sheets, door hangers and notices, project teams should be prepared to communicate delays and keep communications open with dedicated project email and hotline tools. By addressing stakeholder input as it is received, municipal agencies manage community relations while enhancing the reputation of the utility. Creating advocates out of stakeholders, but only if they feel involved and heard.
“An outreach campaign designed with the purpose of education and advocacy can bring together businesses, employees, elected leaders, and most importantly, everyday citizens around one overriding concept: The investment in the renewal of critical Public Infrastructure will secure long term enhancements to a community’s economic health and establish the social returns to a Community that are both meaningful and tangible.” – Peter A. Sellers, Retired Executive Director of Framingham Public Works
We are here to assist you in building dialogue with your community and trust through transparency. Our team works with municipalities and agencies across the Commonwealth to provide public outreach services. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-690-0046.