City unveils new public engagement tool

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Today the City of Helena unveiled a new online platform to make it easier for the public to engage with their local government. The platform, called Be Heard Helena, features select city projects that are seeking public participation as part of a decision-making process.

The public can access the Be Heard Helena site on a computer or mobile device at their convenience.

The platform was initially created to encourage Helena residents to get involved with the fiscal year 2022 budget planning process, but the city hopes to expand its use. The site includes individual project pages that house background information, project updates and invites participation through interactive tools like surveys, discussion forums, and tagging a map with ideas.

“We know it’s not always convenient for community members to attend Commission meetings. Be Heard Helena gives residents a place they can access anytime, day or night, to provide valuable input on City projects that matter to them,” said City Manager Rachel Harlow-Schalk.

Staff will use online feedback in conjunction with face-to-face consultation – activities such as meetings and open houses– to reach a more representative cross-section of the community. While registration is not required to access Be Heard Helena, it is necessary for many of the more interactive engagement opportunities. Registration is a quick, easy, one-time process.

The city will pilot Be Heard Helena for the next year and develop best practices from lessons learned. Community feedback, usage data and input from staff and the City Commission will help the city determine if it should continue to use the platform after the pilot concludes.

Be Heard Helena can be accessed from the City of Helena website or directly at


Be Heard Helena Engagement Portal shown on a computer screen