A new technological tool to help bring the public into the Town of Creston budget process is being tested.
Creston homeowners got mailers this week inviting them to participate in a trial run of a budget simulator exercise to invite public engagement with the budget.
“Couns. Jen Comer gets credit for this,” Mayor Ron Toyota said last week. “She visited the Citizen Budget booth at last year’s Union of BC Municipalities convention and was so impressed that she got all of our Town Council and staff members who were attending to get a demonstration.”
Citizen Budget allows residents to use their own property assessment to see how much they currently pay for a variety of Town services such as roads and operations, fire protection, parks and trails, planning and development, etc. By using the slider tools within the website, people can increase, decrease or maintain service levels in each area and see what impact that has on their annual municipal property taxes.
“The Citizen Budget tool provides all Creston residents with an additional opportunity to participate in the budget process, and gain an understanding of how their tax dollars are allocated,” Toyota said. “Residents are encouraged to create a budget that reflects their priorities and values. Council is very much looking forward to reviewing the results as our financial planning continues.”
If people do not know their property assessment value, they can input any assessment value or use the default assessment value within the program.
In order to keep results secure and meaningful, duplicate and spam responses will be removed by a combination of automatic and manual review techniques by the service provider.
The trial Citizen Budget will be open to the public from Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 to Thursday, March 8th, 2018.
The Town of Creston Citizen Budget can be found online at http://creston.citizenbudget.com.
For those without internet access, paper forms are available at Town Hall.
If the trail this year is successful, the process will begin in earnest next fall for the 2019 budget.