After the truncated effort to pass a budget earlier this year, the City of Guelph, its staff, and political leaders are going to try something new for the 2016 Budget, a massive new effort to try and gather as much community consultation as possible before city council votes for the final budget in December.
Here's the press release from the City of Guelph with full details about how you might have your say throughout the process.
Guelph, ON, August 4, 2015 – The City of Guelph’s 2016 budget kicks off today with the City’s first simulated budget exercise. The online tool is designed to help the City understand what services and projects are most important to the community, and help citizens understand some of the challenges involved in creating a municipal budget.
“Building a municipal budget is an exercise in balance. Our objective is to deliver services that are valued by our community, using a budget that is affordable and predictable for Guelph taxpayers,” says Mark Amorosi, deputy CAO, corporate services. “The budget simulator is the community’s opportunity to consider those same factors and explore the effects of accommodating various needs within a limited funding envelope.”
Explore the budget simulator
The City is exploring ways to increase community participation in budget decisions. The online budget simulator is a step toward opening up city budgeting and governance, and involving citizens in building an even stronger community together.
Guelph’s budget simulator is based on last year’s figures and lets people use their property assessment value to see how their taxes are used to pay for City services like fire and emergency services, waste collection, parks and recreation etc. Using the simulator, citizens can adjust how taxes are allocated to each service, and how their decisions affect their own taxes, and Guelph’s overall tax rate.
Simulated citizen budgets submitted by September 21 will be shared with Guelph City Council as part of the 2016 proposed budget, and people can share their version of the City budget on a variety of social networks.
The budget simulator includes elements of the City’s tax-supported operating and capital budgets, as well as the City’s water and wastewater budgets.
While the results of the exercise are not considered statistically significant, the budget simulator is one way for people to learn more about the budget process, and provide City Council with comments on how tax dollars and fees are used to provide City programs and services.
Citizens are also encouraged to bring budget concerns to Ward Councillors throughout the year, or attend budget meetings in the fall. Throughout the process, information will be posted on guelph.ca/budget to help inform citizens about the proposed budget and opportunities to participate.
2016 budget meeting schedule
October 21 – Non-tax-supported budget presentation to Council and public delegationsOctober 28 – Council approval of non-tax-supported budgetOctober 28 – Capital budget presentation to Council and public delegationsNovember 10 – Operating budget presentation to CouncilNovember 16 – Local boards and shared services presentation to CouncilNovember 30 – Public delegation (tax-supported budget)December 9/10 – Council deliberations and approval
To learn more about the City’s budget and to have your say, visit guelph.ca/budget.