Build­ing next year’s bud­get

Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion brings crowd of 34 ci­ti­zens to­gether

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY MILLICENT MCKAY

John Get­son said more time was needed to prop­erly pro­vide in­put for the City of Sum­mer­side’s up­com­ing bud­get.

He was one of the 34 peo­ple who at­tended the city’s pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on Thurs­day. The crowd an­swered 18 ques­tions cover­ing ar­eas of in­fra­struc­ture, non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion fund­ing, emer­gency ser­vices as well as hy­po­thet­i­cal sce­nar­ios. Get­son, who has lived off and on in Sum­mer­side for about 40 years, said he would have liked to see an op­por­tu­nity for par­tic­i­pants to have time with the back­ground in­for­ma­tion. “We’re given some­thing a few min­utes be­fore (the meet­ing) starts and within sec­onds we’re ex­pected to an­swer th­ese very com­plex and un­spe­cific ques­tions,” he said. “The ques­tions only cover very broad strokes of what needs to be done with things lumped into cer­tain ar­eas with­out peo­ple know­ing how it is all bro­ken down.” Kara Kat­mouz said the ques­tions were good.

“They cer­tainly made me more aware of what mayor and coun­cil have to take into con­sid­er­a­tion, but I would have liked to see more ques­tions about so­cial is­sues and pro­grams to help the com­mu­nity.”

Belinda Woods agreed. “There is an in­creas­ing need for af­ford­able ser­vices and hous­ing. There shouldn’t be any­one in this city fac­ing home­less­ness or hunger.”

Rob Philpott, the city’s fi­nance di­rec­tor, said Thurs­day’s in­put will help shape coun­cil’s de­ci­sions for the 2018 bud­get.

“The in­for­ma­tion will be taken and com­piled into a re­port that will be given to coun­cil while they dis­cuss the plans for the up­com­ing bud­get,” he said. “We’ve been con­duct­ing this kind of con­sul­ta­tion for five years. It’s been a real learn­ing process but it has al­lowed us to de­ter­mine what is­sues are cur­rent in the minds of the city’s res­i­dents.”

“It’s your money. What do you want to see us do with it? If peo­ple don’t let us know we won’t have an idea.” Coun. Tyler DesRoches

For the con­sul­ta­tion process to be ap­plied to Sum­mer­side, which has a pop­u­la­tion of around 15,000, of­fi­cials said there must be feed­back from 350 in­di­vid­u­als.

In or­der to reach that num­ber, the con­sul­ta­tion sur­vey will be made avail­able on­line. Coun. Tyler DesRoches said it was dis­ap­point­ing more peo­ple didn’t at­tend the meet­ing.

“It’s your money. What do you want to see us do with it? If peo­ple don’t let us know we won’t have an idea.”

MILLICENT MCKAY/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Kara Kat­mouz makes her se­lec­tion for one of the ques­tions at the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion meet­ing for the City of Sum­mer­side’s 2018 bud­get.

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