Three budget open houses on Nov. 6 and 8 will let citizens provide feedback on the 2020 proposed budget.

Three budget open houses on Nov. 6 and 8 will let citizens provide feedback on the 2020 proposed budget.

Police, fire and public works top budget priorities for Wetaskiwin residents

More chances to weigh in Nov. 6 and 8

According to citizen feedback on the City of Wetaskiwin’s coming budget, residents want council to hold the line on new spending, and prioritize resources for protective services and public works.

The City’s online citizen budget tool invited community members to share their thoughts on how tax dollars should be spent. The results were shared with City Council at their regular Oct. 15 Council meeting.

Results from the Citizen Budget Engagement, along with feedback received from the upcoming open houses, will be used by City Council as they deliberate the proposed 2020 budget later in November.

“Your input into the City’s budget is extremely important and will help Council make decisions that are in the best interest of Wetaskiwin,” said Mayor Tyler Gandam. “Taking time to attend one of our budget open houses to share your feedback on the proposed budget helps shape our community’s future – I hope to see you there.”

Here’s what city staff and council heard from residents from the online survey:

Protective services topped the list for allocating spending, followed by public works. A significant difference separated those top two preferences from the third, fourth and fifth-place priorities of economic development, recreation, and parks and trails.

The airport, public transport, and community grants and special events placed lowest on respondents’ priority list.

As for projects, respondents ranked their top three priorities, with more than half prioritizing Lead Pipe Replacement – Water Service:

  1. Lead Pipe Replacement – Water Service (54 per cent)
  2. Asphalt Overlays (44 per cent)
  3. Fire Hydrant/Main Valve Replacement/Utility Infrastructure Rehabilitation (42 per cent)
  4. Roadway Lane Markings (31 per cent)
  5. Sidewalk Trail Rehabilitation (28 per cent)

More budget engagement opportunities coming up

The online budget survey was just the first of several opportunities for the public to weigh in on the City budget.

Three budget open houses in early November will also allow citizens to provide feedback on the 2020 proposed budget. The open houses will be interactive, kid-friendly, and snacks and beverages will be provided to attendees. The dates and times of the open houses are as follows:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Wetaskiwin Seniors Centre (5216 – 54 St.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 6 pm to 8 p.m. at The Manluk Centre (4514 – 50 Ave.) Kids of attending adults can enjoy free swimming!
  • Friday, Nov. 8 from 5 pm to 7 pm in the The Justice Café at the Wetaskiwin Mall.

Transit buses will provide free transportation to the open houses, with specified pick-up points and times – check the city website for details.

Following the public consultations, Council will meet Nov. 18 to provide direction to adjust the budget based on what they heard. City council’s budget deliberations are scheduled for Nov. 27 to Nov. 29 in Council Chambers at City Hall. The budget deliberations are open to the public.

Council will then receive the final draft of the budget for approval on Dec. 9. Keep checking www.wetaskiwin.ca/budget for details.