City receives variety of input at budget open house

  • May. 13, 2015 3:09 p.m.

More than 100 Red Deerians provided input at the City’s annual budget open house which took place earlier this week.

City departments had booths where citizens could provide feedback and ask questions.

“There was strong representation from the finance department and citizens had the opportunity to go through an exercise and place priority on where they would prefer to see their tax investments made,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “We also had a strong booth on the capital plan as council.

“We also covered off the full spectrum on our departments and staff were on hand to answer any questions that citizens may have had.”

In terms of concerns and positive feedback, Veer said she heard a mixture of things at the budget open house.

“The people who attended came because of an interest in capital projects and others came in there interested more in operations,” said Veer. “With respect to operations, probably what we heard was some commentary on what they thought was working well and what was improving, but also some discussion around key areas of priorities. What I heard was very consistent with previous engagement that we had with the public at Let’s Talk and the statistically significant survey around community safety and transportation pressures.

“Often at the budget open house we can really get a sense of the economic climate that our community is faced with. Different years will often have a different theme to it. This year there were people who came out wanting to see various projects go forward and were willing to fund those, but there was also a strong sentiment around concerns that generally City tax rates go up by a cost of living every year and people’s household incomes doesn’t increase to match that.”

City staff have already started work on the 2016 capital and operating budgets.

“Once we adopt the 2015 tax rate bylaw which we did in late April and early May, essentially that sends tax notices to our citizens for the 2015 year – literally staff begin building the budget for the 2016 year because it is such a thorough process,” said Veer. “Council adopted general budget guidelines at the end of April which is an important foundation for administration to have at least preliminary cues from council to start building the 2016 budget.

“From there the budget open house is another critical component of the budget process. It’s imperative that we engage with the public on the front end in order to ensure that the budget that is ultimately prepared and tabled is responsive to the needs of Red Deerians.”

The information gathered at the budget open house will be synthesized and will become part of the overall feedback for the budget. When the capital and operating budgets are tabled, council will see the feedback from the budget open house and other public forums.

“When making decisions, council will hopefully be making decisions that are responsive to the needs of the community.”

Veer added events like the budget open house are important for the City to have to allow for engagement with Red Deerians.

“This City council has been strongly committed to community engagement – so much so that we have identified it as one of our themes in our strategic direction. The budget open house is one of many open houses that we have throughout the year, but it is absolutely imperative that we provide forums for our public to share their areas of interest and concern and ideas with council and City staff,” she said.

“We recognize that people’s time is at a premium so we have tried to be responsive to that in engaging with our citizens through social media, through online tools and offering a more traditional open house which allows people to drop in for 15 minutes or to come and stay for the duration of the evening.”

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Red Deer County team honoured for aid in Waterton Fires

Red Deer County Protective Services a huge help to RCMP

Two arrested at Red Deer Rebels hockey game

Red Deer woman charged for allegedly striking police officer

WATCH: Helping those less fortunate at Christmas

Red Deer comes together to spread joy at Christmas Wish Breakfast

WATCH: Red Deerians come together to ‘light the night’

Traditional Red Deer Lights the Night sees thousands

WATCH: Red Deerians come together to ‘light the night’

Traditional Red Deer Lights the Night sees thousands

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip celebrate 70th anniversary

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary

Charles Manson, leader of murderous ’60s cult, dead at 83

Charles Manson, whose cult slayings horrified world, dies

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Most Read