The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is making the 2014 budget discussions a social affair - inviting citizens and stakeholders to engage in deliberations through presentations, meetings, social media, information booths and feedback forms.
"The SCRD budget discussions have become more complex as the cost and demand for services has increased," said board chair Garry Nohr. "Therefore, the need for public input and an increased effort in citizen outreach and engagement are essential. We invite all citizens to take part either in person or through new technology."
Each year, the SCRD board, CAO and staff work together to develop an annual budget. The budget is a detailed plan showing where the SCRD will get its money (revenue) and what that money will be spent on (expenses).
"The board focuses on bringing projects forward that align with the Strategic Plan and other main policy documents," added Nohr. "This helps all those involved in the budget process to remain focused on what is truly important for our communities, while striving to keep taxation as low as possible."
Annual budget deliberations for the SCRD take multiple days and cover a wide array of spending decisions in both operating and capital budgets.
"Public input and feedback during the presentations are important, and time will be set aside each day to allow citizens and stakeholders to ask questions, provide comments and give suggestions," said SCRD treasurer Tina Perreault.
In addition, SCRD staff will be monitoring @SunshineCoastRD, the SCRD's Twitter account, where citizens can post comments, suggestions and questions, which will be presented to the board, with responses provided to the sender as quickly as possible.
"We want the general public to know who we are, what we do and what we don't do in the community," Perreault said. "Equally important will be for us to understand how our citizens prefer to receive information from us about our projects, services and budget."
SCRD staff are hosting two information booths on Friday, Jan. 17, from 10 a.m. to noon at Trail Bay Mall in Sechelt and from 2 to 4 p.m. at Sunnycrest Mall. The public is invited to drop by and get information on the budget process and ask questions.
Round one budget meetings are Jan. 20 to 23, round two are Feb. 17 to 20, and round three are March 10 to 13.
Final adoption of the 2014 budget bylaw is scheduled for March 27 during the regular board meeting. All budget meetings are scheduled to take place at the SCRD board room, 1975 Field Road in Sechelt, at 9 a.m.
For more information, visit www.scrd.ca/Budget.
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