Building next year’s budget
Public consultation brings crowd of 34 citizens together
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.”
Kara Katmouz makes her selection for one of the questions at the public consultation meeting for the City of Summerside’s 2018 budget.