Residents get chance to say where tax dollars should go

Oak Bay Citizen Budget pilot project will run from March 8 to March 21

Oak Bay residents will soon be able to take a stab at municipal budgeting with the launch of an online budget simulation tool called Citizen Budget.

The Oak Bay Citizen Budget pilot project will run from March 8 to March 21.

This public engagement tool will provide citizens with an opportunity to learn more about the district’s budgeting processes and will send valuable citizen input to council for consideration when deliberating 2018 budget priorities.

Using their own property assessments to see how much they currently pay for a variety of district services, residents will be able to use a slider tools within the website to increase, decrease or maintain service levels in each area. As citizens register their wishes, Citizen Budget shows the impacts of their choices on their annual municipal property taxes.

In order to participate, users must be a resident of Oak Bay and have their 2018 property tax assessment. Alternatively, residents can enter the average Oak Bay assessed value of $1.178 M. The Citizen Budget website will accept one submission per IP address.

Residents can access Citizen Budget from the municipal website at starting March 8.

For those wanting assistance, residents can go to the Oak Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Library on Saturday March 10 and Saturday March 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Residents will need to bring their library card or request one.

For those without computer access, paper copies of the questions will be available at municipal hall.

Citizen Budget stems from the district learning through survey responses that residents want to engage with the municipality online. This is a trial year, and after the budget process is complete, staff and council will evaluate the success of the tool to see if it should continue to be used in the municipality.

A Citizen Budget report with the results of the pilot project will be presented to council in early April. Dashboard analytics and summary reports from the process will be reviewed by mayor and council and will provide insight for 2018 budget discussions and decisions.

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