Sioux Lookout, ON – The Municipality of Sioux Lookout is very pleased with the turnout for and participation in its 2017 Budget Consultation Meeting, held November 7th in Sioux Lookout. “We were hoping for good attendance, as this exercise was both an educational tool as well as a public engagement opportunity,” explained Municipal CAO, Ann Mitchell, adding, “in addition to getting useful input on the development of the 2017 budget, we also wanted to help the public understand the difficult choices Council is faced with in terms of balancing the many and varied needs and wants of the community.”
With over 40 members of the public in attendance (representing approximately 1.2% of eligible electors in Sioux Lookout), the meeting involved a number of components, including:
Presentation of an educational video on municipal budgets – what they are and how they work
Presentation by the CAO on the relationship among the Municipal Strategic Plan, Asset Management Plan and Operating and Capital Budgets
Roundtable discussions, with one Member of Council at each table, focussing on 26 questions related to service delivery levels, seeking public input on whether or not the public wishes to see increases, decreases or maintenance of the status quo with respect to a variety of programs and services
Opportunity for other input, in writing or verbally, on other topics not covered by the 26 questions.
The attendees gave a resounding round of applause when the Mayor advised that as a result of several years of lobbying efforts, a new agreement with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is nearing the completion of negotiations.
Mayor Lawrance remarked, “This agreement will result in significant savings in policing costs. As a result of the unique circumstances in which OPP services are delivered in Sioux Lookout and the surrounding area, the Municipality of Sioux Lookout has the second highest policing costs in the Province, on a per capita basis, a burden which has been difficult for local ratepayers to shoulder.”
Municipal Treasurer, Christy McIntomney, stated, “I was very pleased with the number of people in attendance; it was a long evening for those who participated, but it was encouraging to see so many people express interest in the development of the 2017 budget.”
The next Budget Meeting will be held on November 28, 2016, at which time all of the input received at the November 7th Meeting will be compiled into a Report and presented to Council. Administration will request direction from Council on how they wish to proceed with reflecting the public’s input into the 2017 budget.