LETHBRIDGE: City council will soon be debating ways to entice more residents to speak up on city spending.
Deliberations over the 2012-2014 operating budget will soon be underway - with the first update scheduled for February 14th. Monday, the city treasurer presented a budget overview, outlining the process for implementation during the coming year.
The process includes a community survey and open house meetings, which encourage public input.
Alderman Tom Wickersham used the opportunity of Monday's meeting to ask the rest of council how they can come up with ways to increase attendance. He says similar budget meetings in the past have seen "very, very low attendance."
"We're hearing criticims about the decisions that we've made. However, people that have come out to review the draft budget have been overall supportive of it," he explains.
Wickersham says it's frustrating as a public representative to hear complaints from people after the budget is final, when so few shared those views when it was still a draft.
"I think probably in the past the public have felt that when you have a draft budget that it's pretty much done. But the experience is that it isnt," he says. "Decisions can still be changed and directions can still be changed."
One of council's few returning aldermen, Wickersham says he will urge his colleagues to consider more advertising, more meeting times, and different locations for the draft budget open houses before their scheduled run in October 2011.