Public engagement is a vital step in the budget process

Councillor Burton and I shared our disappointment on the lack of Public Engagement on the City of St. John's 2018 Budget. This was our statement:

The City’s 2018 budget, the last in a three-year Budget plan, will soon be made public. Councillors Burton and Froude believe that those who pay their taxes, live, or run businesses in St. John’s should have opportunities to have a say in how their money is spent prior to Council’s final decision on the budget. They want to express disappointment on the lack of Public Engagement for Budget 2018.

In past years, Council has done extensive public engagement in the lead-up to the release of the budget. In 2017, sessions were held in each Ward and there was opportunity to submit feedback and ideas online. Residents, business owners, and other stakeholders from a variety of sectors were given chances to provide input during Budget Roundtable discussions.

Councillors Burton and Froude are calling for a clear public engagement policy for the future. “It’s too late for this year, but this should never happen again,” say Burton and Froude.

They are also calling for public engagement sessions to begin for the 2018 Capital Budget, which will be released in the Spring of 2018. In addition, they want to see immediate steps taken for engagement on the 2019-2021 three-year City Budget.

“It’s been disappointing to go through the budget process so far. I am uncomfortable that there have been no opportunities for public participation on the decision-making process prior to Council voting on the budget later this month,” Burton said today. “It’s important that everyone participate, become involved, and informed on how the City spends its money.”

“I am sharing my disappointment today because I feel it is necessary to recognize that the public has not been given ample opportunity for direct input on the budget, and that many residents, myself included, are disappointed and frustrated by this”, Froude said. “Public engagement is a vital step in the budget process.”

Ian Froude