Interested in how the City of Vancouver spends money on its public spaces? Or on the broader issues of city finances and budgeting? If so (and we hope that was a resounding “yes” that we heard!), then this opportunity may be for you. It’s the time of year when the city’s ledger gets scrutinized and important decisions get made about what gets funded and what doesn’t.
This year, the City faces a considerable crunch. If it maintains its present level of service then there will be a budget shortfall of over $50 million dollars. These “budget pressures”, in turn, can be offset by increasing taxes and user fees, by making cuts, by reprioritizing expenditures and so on. There are lots of challenging discussions ahead.
This makes it particularly important for people to weigh in on what’s important to them. If public space issues are important to you, then you’ll want to signal that funding for parks, community centres, streets (etc.) is important to you.
The City’s press release on the budget consultations can be found below. You can also check out the main consultation webpage at talkvancouver.com/budget2012.
City asks public for input on budget pressures
The City of Vancouver would like public input on priorities and other initiatives to manage the budget pressures in the City’s $1 billion budget.
A diverse public engagement process with a range of opportunities to provide input is now underway. The public is asked to provide feedback on spending priorities as well as ideas on how to deal with the $52 million in budget pressures, which represent the difference between anticipated 2012 City revenues and expenditures and challenge the sustainability of the City’s budget.
The public engagement process has been adjusted this year to move away from poorly attended information meetings of past years to more online activities, which the public has indicated they favour. An open-house session at City Hall and a City Council public hearing will also be held.
On the web, people can find general and detailed information about the draft budget, participate in moderated discussion forums and take an online survey at talkvancouver.com/budget2012.
A public open house will be held at City Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the main floor Media Centre. The session will feature a presentation on budget basics, displays and the opportunity to chat with financial staff.
In addition, about 500 residents and 250 businesses will be polled in a formal survey to provide feedback on spending priorities, which services are most important and where the City should make changes, if necessary.
Vancouver City Council will hold a public hearing on the 2012 budget prior to their final consideration and approval of the plan in March. The date of the public hearing will be announced shortly.
Vancouver residents and businesses interested in more information are invited to join the City’s information email list via firstname.lastname@example.org