Needs, proposals, spending, etc. have been pushed aggressively for decades by local governments all surrounded in local propaganda. Often the need is not there. Other times a small need is there and the government administrators use this as opportunity to exaggerate it into a much greater need.
Rarely do we recommend our clients agree to the presupposition behind the need. Start by investigating and discovering their “need” for yourself. Over the years we’ve investigated and discovered things like a school administrator close and lock a library exit door that is otherwise never closed, on the day the fire marshal showed up. He thus declared the one-exit library a fire risk and suggested a costly new hall had to be built requiring major renovations, thus it was less expensive to just build new.
Another fire marshal was asked by school administrators to order the top floor of a school building closed. He said it does not qualify for such an order, as it meets the fire code. The school administration told the public he did anyway.
Another fire marshal was asked by taxpayers if she could do an official inspection with both sides following along behind her. She said she was too busy that day, then came and did the inspection with the proponents and issued an order to close the top floor of a 3 floor middle school. When confronted she admitted she was on the way (driving) to do the inspection on the very day she told Copperhead that she was too busy to do the inspection. A formal complaint was filed with the head of her agency in the capital city of her state.
There are many more such experiences, many not fire hazard related. During a campaign, investigate and where (often) able, do not agree with the “need”. Rather challenge it outright. If you agree that “we need to do this but should only spend $35 million instead of the proposed $50 million”, most will not be motivated to go vote “No” over a $15 million difference. Stop it on Election Day, then later sit down with the proponents (when the political strength is in your hand) and negotiate any needs.