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November 6, 2017, 9:45 am

City of Powell River's Citizen Budget Provides New Parameters This Year

City of Powell River

POWELL RIVER – For the second straight year, citizens will have an opportunity to use an online tool to provide input into the City of Powell River’s budget deliberations.
 
Called the Citizen Budget, it provides an additional mechanism for resident input into the 2018 budget process, said Kathleen Day, Chief Financial Officer. Citizen Budget encourages and facilitates greater involvement of residents with budget planning and provides broad background information to the public on the City’s budget by service area.
 
Citizen Budget provides an easy-to-use, easy-to-access format that is informative and engaging and is designed to increase awareness and interest about the City’s commitment for public participation.
 
Last year, 451 people visited the Citizen Budget website and 100 of them responded to the information that was posted.
 
“Hopefully, it brought better understanding about the costs of operating the municipality, the services that are provided and what’s involved,” Day said. “A big part of this is the education. It means people are looking at the budget information and that is a big plus.”
 
This year’s Citizen Budget will be different than last year’s in that it will be using a balanced budget model, where participants will be challenged to balance the City budget. Last year’s Citizen Budget was based on using the tax module, which required residents to vote on how their tax dollars were spent. Calculations were made on the participants’ property values and it was interactive with the tax spending decisions made by the participant.
 
With the new model, the operating budgets of 10 individual cost centers, or services within the City budget, will be displayed with a slide impact bar, allowing the participant to either increase the budget, decrease the budget or leave the budget as it is for the particular service. If a participant increases a cost centre’s budget, they will be required to decrease another by an equivalent amount to balance the budget. Additionally, participants will be able to change the 2018 property tax increase, which is slated at two per cent, or approximately $250,000, in the coming year.
 
Citizen Budget will use the 2018 City of Powell River operations budget figures in the 2017 Financial Plan to determine costs of the budgetary functions.
 
“Balancing the budget is not an easy task,” Day said. “Hopefully, people will find it interesting and take the time to inform themselves and gain an understanding of what is required of City Council at this time.”
 
In addition to the sliders where participants may balance the budget, there will be fields in the Citizen Budget where people may leave comments about the budgetary process, advising City Council of participants’ thoughts.
 
The Citizen Budget will be online on November 3, 2017 and may be accessed by following this link: http://powellriver.citizenbudget.com/
 
 
For more information, contact:
Kathleen Day, Chief Financial Officer
(604) 485-8639

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