Lakeville will pay a consultant nearly $59,000 to help city leaders decide what direction residents want them to take.
The council recently approved spending on a "vision plan," about two-thirds through a federal grant.
It's part of a $23.7 million budget for 2013 to be approved this month.
Mayor-elect Matt Little said he voted for the measure but is skeptical of spending so much on a consultant.
But he noted that the rest of the council and Councilman-elect Doug Bonair have supported the idea.
There's to be a survey of the community and about a dozen focus groups, forums and education sessions over eight months.
Little said the last survey was done in 1998.
The city will need to make sure the process produces "specific, usable information that provides clear direction for the council," Little said.
A staff memo said the process would help "establish an informed, reasoned and cohesive picture upon which to build consensus."