Lloydminster residents are being encouraged to let the city know what they would like to see from the 2016 municipal budget.
On aug. 24, Lloydminster director of finance and treasurer Nicole Reiniger announced the launch of the new, interactive budget simulator, Dollars and Sense.
Until Sept. 25, users can input their property assessment and then choose where to best allocate their property tax money. The areas where taxpayers can manipulate funding include infrastructure and maintenance, public safety, recreation facilities, parks, community services, culture and arts and the Lloydminster Municipal Airport. The city will then refer to the information provided by residents when formulating next year’s budget.
“If you go through it quickly you can do it in abut seven to 10 minute, but if you’d like to read and get educated and play with the numbers up and down on your property taxes, you could be on there for a half and hour,” Reiniger said.
“It’s meaningful to the public to see how it impacts their tax dollars.”
Dollars and Sense can be filled out online at www.lloydminser.ca/budget. The city encourages residents share their results on social media using #LloydBudget.
“This is an opportunity for us to educate all of our residents about what the city does, how we provide service and how we decide to prioritize projects,” Reiniger said. “And now you get to be part of that process.”
For those who wish to provide feedback but do not have access to a computer or electronic device, or are unsure of how to use the program, the city will be bringing the project to the public. City staff will be on hand with tablets to help residents fill our the survey at Community Registration Night at the Servus Sports Centre on Sept. 3.
“We’re looking at doing potentially a few sessions in the Lloydminster mall, as well a trying to get out to all of the assisted living facilities,” Reiniger said.
“That group is very engaged in the community so we want to make sure we get their feedback included.”
The city has reached out to the public when devising its budget in the past. Reiniger says last year’s survey was successful, and with the introduction of Dollars and Sense she says the city is “ramping it up and going to that next level.”
“we had some great response to that survey, more than we even anticipated, and we really hope now that we’ve got this interactive tool people can really get engaged in the process,” Reiniger said.
“We’re really hoping the public takes advantage to have their voice be heard.”