The city released its Citizen Budget engagement toolkit July 15. The online tool - available on the city website or on the iPad available for use at City Hall. (City website screenshot)

What should Whitehorse focus on in 2020?: City releases ‘Citizen Budget’

Residents can tinker with how they would spend property taxes

Looking for Sunday bus service? What about ensuring the city focuses on climate change adaptation? Or perhaps you want city services to be maintained just as they are?

Those are among the questions the City of Whitehorse is asking residents as officials get set to prep the 2020 budget.

The city released its Citizen Budget engagement toolkit July 15. The online tool — available on the city website or on the iPad available for use at city hall — points to the challenges in providing services and asks what adjustment to property taxes citizens would be willing deal with to make changes to the services. Those who don’t pay property tax can enter a pre-set amount to base their answers around.

The toolkit also sets out the various challenges faced by the city in providing services and asks how residents would be willing to address property taxes to deal with it.

For example, looking at snow and ice control, the city states the challenge as: “Meeting established service levels for snow and ice control on City streets to ensure safe and timely movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic while adding in newly constructed roads.”

Those using the toolkit can then use a sliding scale to state how they would adjust property tax for snow and ice control.

Similar questions are featured around recreation services, transit, emergency preparedness and more. Additional space is also available for residents to leave general comments about the budget.

The budget toolkit will be available until July 29 with staff then using input from that as part of the work to develop the 2020 operating and capital budgets.

The capital budget along with a three-year provisional spending plan is typically released in November and adopted before the end of the calendar year.

The operating budget (which details any property tax and fee increases) and two year provisional plan is typically brought forward in December and adopted early in the new year.

The 2019 capital budget is $8.9 million (with another $14.9 million subject to external funding coming through) while the 2019 operating budget is $81 million.

Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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