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Delta to have more public input in expanded budget process

Delta will work to promote awareness and participation in public engagement activities related to the 2025 budget process
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Kruger says the upcoming 2025 budget process presents an opportunity to enhance public participation and understanding of municipal finances. Jarredscycling file

The City of Delta will expand opportunities for the public to provide input on the next municipal budget process as well as the amount of time to solicit that feedback.

Council last week approved a motion by Coun. Dylan Kruger to have the municipality implement expanded public engagement initiatives beginning this fall for the 2025 budget process to ensure meaningful input from residents.

The motion includes having Delta expand opportunities to solicit feedback from residents on budget priorities and spending allocations, and that council will consider the feedback received from the public during the budget process and “strive to incorporate community input into budgetary decisions.”

City Manager Donny van Dyk told council that the finance and engagement departments have indicated many of the actions can be achieved within budget. The city has been planning new engagement principals since the last budget process, he said.

Kruger noted the city “is thrifty” when it comes to spending its dollars and the various departments do a tremendous job walking council through the budgeting process.

However, there is an appetite with the public to hear more about that work and have a more transparent process to ensure they are also walking through the process at the same time as council.

That process should also start earlier in order to fully understand the community’s priorities, added Kruger.

Mayor George Harvie said the city’s expanded engagement department has been doing exceptional work and will do so for the next budgeting process.

The timing of when the proposed property tax increase was released and given preliminary approval late last year drew criticism from many residents, although a civic report noted that 969 residents participated in an online survey, a 28 per cent increase from the previous year.

For 2024, council approved a 7.75 per cent municipal property tax increase which includes 5.75 per cent for city operational services. There is also a two per cent recreation capital investment levy, which is an amount dedicated to improving the city’s recreation and public facilities.

The increase for a typical home assessed at $1.34 million in 2023 would be $208, according to the finance department.