A prime opportunity for Weyburn residents to have a say in how their tax dollars are spent annually is coming up, at the next city council meeting set for Monday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. in council chambers.
At this time, any person or group who has a submission to make to council about the proposed 2024 budget can appear before council and make their argument.
Delegations will be allowed to put their case forward, if there are parts of the budget they don’t like, or if there are improvements, deletions or additions they’d like to see made to what was proposed.
An open house for the budget was held on Nov. 7, and suggestions and points were made to council members and staff there. This council meeting will be the last opportunity for people to make their views known.
Just to recap, the City is proposing to increase taxes by 6.47 per cent, which for an average home would be an increase of $120 on the year, or $10 a month. This includes a hike in the base tax of $50 from $765 currently, to $815 a year, taking effect in 2024.
Tax increases are never welcomed by anyone, as it means yet another price increase on top of all the other price increases people are paying, for everything from gas to food to most goods at the store.
For people on a fixed income, this could be a hardship to bear as for some, it comes down to a choice between paying bills or buying food.
This is not a choice anyone should have to make, and when that choice involves a family with children, this poses very difficult situations. This is, in part, why the Salvation Army’s food bank has been getting busier, because some families cannot make ends meet.
There may be other areas of the preliminary budget people might question also, but may feel their opinions may not matter than much in the grand scheme of things.
The fact is, everyone’s opinion is important, and those who feel strongly about certain issues should look over the budget (on the City’s website, at weyburn.ca) and see what suggestions or comments they would like to make. Each department’s needs and projects are outlined there.
If, on the other hand, the council meeting on Nov. 27 sees no one step forward or speak out on any parts of the budget, then council can safely assume there are no real problems with the document as proposed, and it will be passed as the final budget on Dec. 11.
Should anyone doubt that the City is listening, take note that the budget is in part based on the citizens’ survey taken earlier this year, which set out what the priorities should be for council to follow in the coming months and years.
Don’t make the assumption someone else will raise the issues important to you – speak up and be heard.