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City wants your input in budget process

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The City of Powell River wants to hear from you as it works out next year’s budget.

With that in mind, it’s put together a survey to help its finance department develop a four-year financial plan from 2021 to 2025.

The city has opened the annual Citizen Budget to collect community input as the 2021 budget process moves forward. 

Questions include whether or not you’d adjust your property tax funding for things like fire, police, solid waste, and recreation services, to name a few.

This is the fifth year the city is asking people to look at the books and create their ideal budget.

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The city says that in past years, what it calls the “Citizen Budget” has “increased awareness and understanding among taxpayers about the budget and taxation processes and financial operations.”

“Community engagement is integral to our budgeting process,” said acting manager of accounting services, Ryan Youngman. 

“City Council takes the Citizen Budget results seriously in making decisions on what services and programs matter to people and how their tax dollars will be spent. We want to ensure our residents and businesses are involved with the budget process to help prioritize the city’s spending.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a new challenge for the city. 

Fee-related revenue has dropped because of programs being cancelled and limited use of the Recreation Complex; while public health and safety costs have increased in response to the pandemic. 

The city says uncertainty around the future and how long these measures will remain makes budgeting more challenging.

“My view of 2021 is that we should take our auditors advice and be careful and conservative in planning our budget,” said finance committee chair George Doubt.

“The local impact of COVID is still unclear and we need to be prepared to adapt. I look forward to residents’ comments on our future direction.”

The survey is open until Jan. 14, 2021, and can be found here.

If you don’t have a computer with internet, the Powell River library provides free access. 

Paper copies are also available at the library and city hall.

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