Budget 2018: What We Heard and What Comes Next

(November 10, 2017, North Cowichan, BC) The municipality recently invited North Cowichan residents to provide input on the draft municipal budget. Council received a summary of this feedback at the November 6 Committee of the Whole Meeting.

North Cowichan residents engaged and provided input on Budget 2018 at three public meetings and on PlaceSpeak, North Cowichans online citizen engagement platform. Participants were asked to express their opinions on the topics of priority spending areas and municipal services areas, and were asked, in their view, what the municipality is doing well and where the municipality could improve.

The most important priority spending areas, as indicated by participants, included; water (keeping our water safe and clean), infrastructure maintenance (roads, sidewalks, pipes), public safety, building active transportation networks for cycling and walking, and affordable housing. When asked in what areas the municipality could improve, participants highlighted the areas of water management and education, policing, and provided comments challenging proposed future projects. (A full summary can be found in the report to Council).

By getting out there in October and engaging the public early in the budget development process, it gives Council more time to consider the input as we make budget decisions over the next several months, says Mayor Jon Lefebure. The final budget is adopted each year in May, so the feedback we get at this early stage really helps to guide our decisions.

Residents can continue to provide input on the budget, as meetings continue on into the New Year. Next up is the Public Works Committee meeting on November 14 where committee members will review the Roads and Sidewalk capital program. At the November 27 Committee of the Whole meeting, Council will review the 5 year financial plan and capital expenditure plan. All budget-related meetings are open to the public and a complete list of these meetings can be found on the Budget 2018 website www.northcowichan.ca/budget2018.