Blackfalds seeks budget input from residents

Blackfalds residents can try their hand at balancing the town’s budget books.

Blackfalds residents can try their hand at balancing the town’s budget books.

In a bid to boost local community participation, the town has launched an online tool that allows residents to propose budget tweaks.

Residents will be asked whether the town should spend more or less on a variety of municipal services and what impact any changes would have on tax bills.

The online budget will be available through September while the town’s departments are pulling together their draft budgets. Feedback gathered through the public survey will be considered when council gets down to its number crunching in October.

Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol said getting resident feedback on the budget has always been a challenge.

The online survey allows people to put in the value of their home to see what their current tax bill is and then fiddle with municipal spending to see how it affects their rates.

“It’s just a different way of engaging people,” said Stol.

The mayor said she’s not sure what to expect when the online survey closes at the end of the month. She hopes to get more feedback than last year when only two people showed up for a budget open house.

“What I’m hoping for this year is to see more people take this opportunity to participate,” she said. “(Council) does a better job when we’re getting constructive feedback during the course of a year or during the course of a term that we’re on council.

“We are really interested in what people have to say.”

Stol said the public might find the exercise eye-opening. After all, it’s human nature to under-estimate the costs of things sometimes.

In recent years, other communities have undertaken projects to encourage more public participation in the budget process.

City of Lacombe launched its Citizen Budget Survey last year and it returned this summer.

The online survey focused on services supported by property taxes such as emergency response, recreation, parks and culture and garbage collection and recycling.

Residents can rank their three most important issues facing the city.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Delburne man found not guilty in connection with 2016 fatal rollover

Daniel Wayne Newsham had been on trial for manslaughter

Loan officer accused of $1 million fraud to plead guilty

Accused allegedly forged customer names to get loans while working at Sylvan Lake bank

Red Deer to get new plan to end homelessness as problem persists

Despite some successes there’s ‘a long way to go,’ says manager

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Ottawa is spending $1.6 billion to help struggling energy companies stay afloat,… Continue reading

Canada ranks 16th on World Economic Forum’s annual gender gap list

TORONTO — Canada has landed the 16th spot in the World Economic… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Canada’s Kim McRae finishes seventh at luge World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Canada’s Kim McRae finished in seventh place at… Continue reading

Most Read