File photo

File photo

Town to host open house focused on this year’s budget

The open house ties in with an online budget survey on the Town’s website

In an effort to gauge residents’ priorities for Budget 2023, the Town of Sylvan Lake is hosting an open house on Jan. 18 at the Nexsource Centre.

The event runs from 4 to 6 p.m.

The open house ties in with an online budget survey currently available on the Town’s website, said Jared Waldo, the Town’s communication officer.

“We put out an online budget survey – usually in the fall leading up to staff budget presentations and council’s start to deliberations,” he said. “The survey asks questions of residents about what they would like to see, and there are opportunities to rank services in terms of importance, for example.

“They can go in and say, ‘Parks and roads, or snowplowing is most important to me, and recreation isn’t’ or things like that. One of the big questions we also ask every year is, what do you want to see? Do you want to see your taxes go up in line with inflation? Do you want to see them increased to offer more services? Do you want less?

“Over the last several years, the message has kind of been the same throughout our budget surveys, that being that most residents – and in our case about two-thirds of them this year – would like to see maintaining services by increasing taxes to inflation – nothing too high. They are saying, ‘Whatever you have to do to maintain this quality of life – that’s what we want’.”

Waldo added that the survey provides feedback for council so that when they are having those deliberations and deciding what stays, what goes and what is important, they have the feedback (to refer to).

“It becomes an official part of the process.”

The survey is still open for residents to take part in.

“Council had to approve an interim budget prior to the end of the year,” said Waldo. “But they don’t do a first reading on things until March 27 because there are things that could change.”

To that end, the Town is hosting host the open house to gather more information.

“It’s an opportunity for our residents to come in and speak to council about the budget, what they like, what they don’t like, and anything else that they would like to see,” he said.

“They can come in and talk shop about taxes. We will have some boards set up, so folks can also see the information laid out visually, too.”

Those who have already filled out the survey are still encouraged to drop by the open house as well.

“It’s great that we get that feedback through the online survey – it’s great information for us and for council – but nothing is better than being able to have a good face-to-face conversation.”

To fill out the budget survey, go here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6LNYRCJ

For more general information about Budget 2023, visit www.sylvanlake.ca.

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