Smithers Launches "Citizen Budget" Online Simulator
Smithers residents are being given an opportunity to see how different taxation choices might effect next year's municipal budget.
A new online budget simulator exercise called "Citizen Budget" shows people how much they currently pay for various services such as police and fire protection, road-and-sidewalk maintenance, recreation, transit and economic development, based on their property assessment.
The simulator lets them increase or decrease service levels in each area and then see how it would impact their tax bill.
Mayor Taylor Bachrach says the hope is it will help give Smithers residents a better idea of the choices and tradeoffs involved in crafting a budget.
An information session on the Citizen Budget will be held in Smithers Council Chambers on Thursday, October 26th at 6:30pm.
The interactive website (http://smithers.citizenbudget.com/) is available to the public until November 12th.
The results will be given to council, to be used during the 2018 budget process.
=== NEWS RELEASE ===
News Release: Smithers Citizen Budget “Have Your Say”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2017
The Town of Smithers has expanded its public engagement platform for its 2018 budget by launching a new, online Budget Simulator Exercise called Citizen Budget. This public engagement website allows residents to provide valuable input on how they would like to spend their municipal property tax dollars related to services and programs in our community.
The Smithers Citizen Budget website can be found at: http://smithers.citizenbudget.com/
“Council and I are excited at this new approach to engaging residents in the budget process. Our hope is that Citizen Budget will not only help residents provide feedback, but also understand some of the important choices and tradeoffs involved” said Mayor Taylor Bachrach.
The Citizen Budget simulator exercise allows residents to use their own property assessment to see how much they currently pay for a variety of Town services (i.e. roads and sidewalks, protective services, recreation and culture, economic development, transit services and more). By using the slider tools within the website, people can increase, decrease or maintain service levels in each area and see what impact that has on their annual municipal property taxes.
If people do not know their assessment, or are not a Smithers property owner, they can input any assessment value, or use the default assessment value within the program.
This interactive website will be open to the public from Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 to Sunday, November 12th, 2017. The results of how residents feel about how their tax dollars are being spent will then be provided to Council during the 2018 budget process.
For those people who do not have a computer, or who would like more information on how to complete this online exercise, a Citizen Budget information session will be held on Thursday, October 26th, 2017 in the Smithers Council Chambers at 6:30 p.m.