Town gets little traction on 2019 Budget survey, holding another open house

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by Morinville News Staff

Results are in for the 2019 Budget Survey and the numbers are low.

The online survey, conducted by Open North, resulted in 333 people visiting the survey site, but only 67 of those taking the 10 minutes needed to provide input. That resulted in 20.1 per cent participation and only roughly 1.6 per cent of Morinville households represented.

The Nov. 20 Committee of the Whole agenda package provides an overview of what the small number of residents who took the survey are thinking.

On the question: “Do you support the 2019 Operating Initiatives?” 67 per cent were supportive, and 33 per cent were opposed.

In looking at value for the tax dollar in programs and services, 65 per cent found very good or fairly good value, while 35 per cent found fairly poor to very poor value for the dollar.

ROADS

Road and sidewalk maintenance topped the list of where money should be spent among 29 per cent of votes cast. This was followed by rec facilities, park maintenance and public library services. Police and fire services were also higher in the rankings.

Library

With respect to the Morinville Public Library and the question – “Would you increase, decrease or maintain the existing level of funding?” – 67 per cent would maintain existing funding. Twenty per cent would reduce funding in varying degrees, and 13 per cent would increase funding in varying degrees.

Museum

Support for the Morinville Historical Society and their museum was lower. While 56 per cent would maintain existing funding, almost 40 per cent would reduce funding for the museum. Another four per cent would bump funding.

Protective Services

Protective Services had 52 per cent support to maintain funding levels, while 16 per cent would reduce and another 32 per cent would increase in that area.

Public Works

Unsurprisingly, support for Public Works was highest with 61 per cent in favour of maintaining levels and another 21 per cent in favour of an increase. Eighteen per cent of survey respondents would like a decrease in public works spending.

Community Programming

Community programming and the Live at the CCC concert series received a satisfactory grade from 60 per cent of respondents, and a failing grade from the remaining 40 per cent.

Priorities

When it came to capital spending, the Town’s road rehabilitation program dominated with 24 per cent of the total vote. This was followed by parks and trails at 21 per cent, rec facility spending at 20 per cent, outdoor facilities at 18 per cent and utlity infrastructure and fleet replacement bottoming the list.

Still time left for input

Council is scheduled to review survey results during the Nov. 20 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Details on the 2019 budget can be found online at morinville.ca/budget-2019.

On Nov. 18, the Town released an email to the media indicating an open house for residential and non-residential property owners would be held Nov. 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to explain the 2019 budget and the impact on non-residential property owners if a split mill rate moves forward to third reading.

Third reading of the Budget is scheduled for Nov. 27. Residents can still submit their commentary to budget2019@morinville.ca.

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