Thursday, October 1, 2015

Prince George information project would fit in nicely with Prince Rupert Council's engagement process

An interactive program being used by
the City of Prince George allows
residents to review how civic
budget making is created
The City of Prince George has introduced an interesting educational feature to its website, allowing residents and taxpayers in that community to take on the role of the Chief Financial Officer and Council members, allocating tax dollars to a range of community services.

The program called Citizen Budget  was introduced over the last few weeks, and provides the user with control over how their tax dollars should be allocated, with options in increasing or reducing funding to such services as police and fire protection, civic services, community grants and other facets of municipal government.

The program also offers the opportunity for the City to further explain just what those elements are and how residents access or make use of them.

The City of Prince George provided a short overview of their program for the CivicInfoBC portal, with Mayor Lyn Hall noting the approach that they are taking in consulting their residents on budget and financial issues.

“We encourage residents to provide feedback on how they want us to spend their tax dollars ... As Council continues to focus on community engagement and transparency as one of its strategic priorities, this public consultation process is about residents helping us to shape the 2016 budget, the 2016 Corporate Plan, and the priorities of Council.”

While the information will be based on Prince George budget considerations, the exercise should give users a helpful example of the kind impact that even a slight increase or decrease can have on budget planning by City Council members.

You can take the program out for a test drive here.

In the past, Mayor Brain and some of the council members have expressed an interest in finding ways to get city residents more involved in the municipal process, this program which seems fairly simple to use, would surely fit the community engagement ideals that Prince Rupert council have noted.

It would however require a bit more dedication towards the City's website, which of late hasn't seen
much in the way of attention, or found the kind of use that many in the community might wish to see.

For the most part, much of the information flow in recent months has been directed through the Mayor's Facebook page, which sometimes tends to lose focus on the concept that not everyone wishes to get bogged down in the Social media aspects of photos and commentary from the Mayors followers (usually of those approving of the Mayor's work).

Sometimes, people just want to know the basic facts, which is something that the City's official website is supposed to and should provide. A program such as what the City of Prince George's Citizen Budget offers to its residents, would fit nicely into a reboot of the official website for the City of Prince Rupert, making it a go to destination for core items of note about civic matters.

For more items related to Prince Rupert City Council see our archive page here.

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