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Ward 14 News: September 2018 Newsletter

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Ward 14 official website

Hi Ward 14!

Budget time is coming. For a City Councillor this is the most important time of their four-year term in office. It is game time, and we need to have our game faces on. Especially with unprecedentedly large issues like the Green Line, the Olympics, and the possibility of a new event centre casting their shadows.

2019-2022 City Budget

In November, we will approve the City’s financial plan—and consequently its priorities—for the next four years. But I have been preparing for this for many months now, and things will start to ramp up even more until our actual budget deliberations.

Stay Connected​ with email updates!

During September we will be hearing high-level previews of the 2019-2022 service plans and discuss our strategy for the next four years. It isn’t unlike what we did four years ago, and to a lesser degre​e every year when we review our budgets and strategies. In November we will vote on the finalized budget.

There is one thing that won’t be the same though. Our budget and plans have always been based on the organizational structure of the City of Calgary: by department and by business unit. Frankly, that way of thinking has probably been setting us off on the wrong foot from the very beginning. It focuses on the process, and not the goal.

Starting this year, we will be doing things differently. We are moving to a service-based approach. That means that we will be looking at our plans and budgets based on their associated service, and I am hopeful that this will turn our focus more toward what is truly important—the services we are actually here to provide. It will certainly allow me to better scrutinize the results of the money that the taxpayers are putting in.

But the point of me writing about our upcoming budget talks is not just to talk about what we have done. It is also about allowing you to have your say.

The first way I would suggest to get yourself involved is to visit calgary.ca/yourservices. There you will be able to read more about this topic. While you are there you might also want to sign up to receive email updates.

At calgary.ca/yourservices you will also see information on how to give feedback. In September, Council will meet several times for the sole purpose of having a strategic discussion about the City’s proposed service plans and budgets. If you are interested in participating to provide strategic input on these focus areas, you can attend one of these meetings and present your feedback to Council in person.

The schedule is:

  • 4 – A Well Run City (Priorities & Finance)
  • 5 – A Prosperous City (Community & Protective Services)
  • 6 – A City that Moves (Transportation & Transit)
  • 12 – A Healthy and Green City (Utilities & Corporate Services)
  • 13 – A City of Safe and Inspiring Neighbourhoods (Planning & Urban Development)
  • 17 – Civic Partners (Priorities & Finance)

Of course another good way is to contact me through my office. I always want to hear what the people of Ward 14 are thinking, and I have also been working hard behind the scenes to make it easier for Calgarians involved. A few months ago, my proposal to improve our communication of budgets was approved. The improvements are ongoing, but you can visit calgary.ca/ourfinances to see what has been done so far to make it easier to understand how your money is spent, and use the imporved online tax calculator.

Here are a few other ways to participate in the City’s decision making process:

Citizens’ View – The City’s Online Research Panel

Each year, The City conducts research and engagement to get a better understanding of citizen’s preferences, needs and satisfaction levels with our programs and services.

The City has an online research panel called Citizens’ View. Citizens’ View is an online space where you can share your thoughts about life in Calgary by participating in surveys on topics that matter to you.

The online panel makes information sharing more transparent, accessible and interactive for Calgarians. The panel is a timely and cost-effective tool that makes it easier for you to share your opinions and understand how your input is used.

I encourage everyone to take part in this, and I keep a close eye on the questions they are asking too. So please give it a try, and let me know what you think about the questions they are asking. You can join at citizensviewcalgary.ca.

Business Perspectives – The City’s Online Business Research Panel

This is very similar to the online research panel, but it relates to—you guessed it—businesses. Throughout the year, the City conducts ongoing research with businesses and business leaders to gain a better understanding of the outlook and attitude of the business community.

The City has an online research panel called Business Perspectives where business leaders have an opportunity to share their points of view with City Administration and Council. The online panel is a timely and cost-effective tool that makes it easier for businesses to communicate their opinions and understand how their input is used.

There are currently just under 1,000 businesses on this panel. They have a goal of reaching double that by halfway through 2019. Let’s help them get there! If you think you have something to offer the online research panel, please contact research@calgary.ca to learn more and join.

Boards, Commissions, and Committees

Council is seeking volunteers to fill positions on various Boards, Commissions and Committees. They provide us with perspective and recommendations on important civic issues. If you think this might be something for you, you can apply all the way up until September 14. Click here to learn more and apply.

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Don’t forget to visit calgary.ca/ward14newsletter for the full version of this column, and feel free to contact me any time. The best way to do so is by visiting calgary.ca/contactward14.

-Councillor Peter Demong​


This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.
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