Got a beef with the bud­get? City hall wants to hear from you

Seaway News - - NEWS - Todd Li­hou

CORN­WALL, On­tario - In an ef­fort to en­gage Corn­wal­lites in the city bud­get, the City of Corn­wall is invit­ing res­i­dents to share their thoughts on how they would like to see their prop­erty tax dol­lars in­vested in com­mu­nity ser­vices.

The city has launched an in­ter­ac­tive online bud­get sur­vey at www.Corn­wall.ca which al­lows res­i­dents to build their own bud­get and show city of­fi­cials how they would spend their tax dol­lars. Res­i­dents can also pro­vide com­ments on var­i­ous city ser­vices.

“Com­mu­nity en­gage­ment is a strate­gic pri­or­ity for the city and there is a strong de­sire to get our res­i­dents more in­volved in the bud­get plan­ning process,” said CAO Norm Le­vac. “We want to hear from our res­i­dents on their pri­or­i­ties and con­cerns re­gard­ing the bud­get. It is one of the most im­por­tant ex­er­cises the city un­der­takes each year and the de­ci­sions made dur­ing the bud­get plan­ning process have a di­rect im­pact on taxes and lev­els of ser­vice.”

The in­ter­ac­tive bud­get sur­vey al­lows res­i­dents to en­ter their own prop­erty as­sess­ment value to see how much they cur­rently pay each year for a va­ri­ety of ser­vices such as po­lice, fire, EMS, roads and side­walks, recre­ation pro­grams, parks and land­scap­ing, solid waste, Corn­wall Tran­sit, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and by-law en­force­ment.

Through the easy-to-use online tool, res­i­dents can then elect to in­crease, de­crease or main­tain spend­ing lev­els in each ser­vice area and see what po­ten­tial im­pact it would have on their an­nual prop­erty taxes. Once sat­is­fied with their choices, res­i­dents can sub­mit their feed­back and share it with fam­ily and friends on a va­ri­ety of so­cial net­works.

Com­puter work­sta­tions are avail­able at the Corn­wall Pub­lic Li­brary for res­i­dents who may not have com­puter ac­cess at home. In ad­di­tion, a pa­per ver­sion of the sur­vey will be avail­able in the com­ing days in a va­ri­ety of city build­ings, in­clud­ing City Hall, the Ben­son Cen­tre, the Aquatic Cen­tre, the civic com­plex, the Glen Stor Dun Lodge and the li­brary.

The re­sults will be col­lected over the next sev­eral weeks and they will be pro­vided to city coun­cil in the lead-up to its de­lib­er­a­tions on the 2014 city bud­get. De­pend­ing on the re­sponses re­ceived, city ad­min­is­tra­tion may opt to un­der­take fur­ther con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity on spe­cific ar­eas of ser­vice.

“The ul­ti­mate goal is to gar­ner feed­back from res­i­dents on their pri­or­i­ties for mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices,” said Mayor Bob Kil­ger. “Through this ini­tia­tive, we also hope to pro­vide res­i­dents with a greater un­der­stand­ing of the wide va­ri­ety of pro­grams and ser­vices that are sup­ported by their tax dol­lars.”

Res­i­dents who com­plete and sub­mit the sur­vey by Dec. 16 will be en­tered into a draw to win some great prizes, in­clud­ing a onemonth fam­ily swim mem­ber­ship at the aquatic cen­tre, a City of Corn­wall three-sea­son jacket and a copy of the re­cently-re­leased Corn­wall Scrap­book. Those who sub­mit the sur­vey by Mon­day, Novem­ber 25th, will be el­i­gi­ble for the early bird prize – 4 tick­ets to see Great Big Sea at the Corn­wall Civic Com­plex on Nov. 29th.

To ac­cess the online sur­vey, please visit www.Corn­wall.ca and click on the Bud­get 2014 Corn­wall logo on the right side of the home page.

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