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City of Weyburn to seek public input for 2023 budget

A Weyburn resident asked for the city's permission to raise chickens in her back yard in the city
Weyburn resident Majesta Malcolm spoke at council on Monday night, asking for permission to raise chickens in her back yard.

WEYBURN – A timeline has been set out for the 2023 budget for the City of Weyburn, and part of the process will involve seeking input from the public on how the city’s tax dollars should be spent.

City manager Mathew Warren laid out the plans, which will start with budget templates sent to all department heads by Sept. 15.

The department heads are to have a budget for their area by Oct. 20, and director of finance is to have all of the department budgets to the city manager by Nov. 1.

A preliminary budget will be presented to city council by the Oct. 24 meeting, and the period for public consultation will go from Oct. 25 to Nov. 18.

The City will have a dedicated email address for all public input, at [email protected], along with a budget page on their website, which will soon be set up.

All input given by the public will be presented to council at the Nov. 28 council meeting, when any delegations that wish to speak to council can appear. The city clerk needs to be notified by Nov. 18 if any person or group wishes to speak to council.

The budget web page will have information on the budget process, including past budgets, and the budget proposal report for the 2023 document.

Warren noted the City has a number of sources of funding, and the budget is financed through these sources, which include property taxes and fees; grants; development charges; internal reserves, and as a last resort, external loans.

The City’s budget has two components, the operating budget and the capital budget.

The operating budget covers the City’s day-to-day spending on services that include recreation programs, garbage pickup, parks maintenance, snow removal and emergency services.

The capital budget covers the City’s purchases, and plans to build, maintain, repair and replace assets, including fleet vehicles, roads, water and sewer system and public buildings, such as the skating rinks, pool and the Spark Centre, as well as the Fire Hall and police station.

The final 2023 budget is slated to be approved by council by the Dec. 12 meeting.

• In other council business, resident Majesta Malcolm spoke to council about her wish to raise chickens in her backyard.

She noted she grew up in B.C. where she had raised chickens as a food source, and hopes to be able to do that in Weyburn if council will grant her permission.

“It’s to give families not just a taste of farm life, but the things that come with it. It’s producing food and reduces waste in the landfill,” she said, adding the freshly produced eggs are better and healthier than store-bought eggs.

Malcolm proposed allowing her to run a pilot project for two years after which the city could review how the operations went, and whether any problems or complaints arose.

“We have a really good foundation of what’s successful. Every province is doing it,” she added, and said raising chickens has been shown to be good for people dealing with mental health issues, such as depression, ADHD or autism.

In talking to people around Weyburn, Malcolm said there seems to be a lot of interest in the community for such a program.

Mayor Marcel Roy asked if this is regulated in B.C., such as having someone check to make sure the chickens are being properly cared for.

She answered it would likely be the same people who look after the welfare of cats and dogs, as they could respond to any complaints or concerns about the chickens’ welfare.

Asked about keeping the chickens safe from predators, she said the aim would be to have a safe enclosure to keep out birds of prey, or other predators like cats.

“I’d be more than willing to be called by the Weyburn Humane Society. I have no problems doing that, or if a chicken gets loose,” said Malcolm.

Coun. Dick Michel asked if there are offensive sounds or smells from having chickens, and she replied that the food needs to be contained, and owners would have to clean up after the chickens, like a dog owner would in a back yard.

Mayor Roy said they would take her presentation as information, and council would get an answer back to her.

• City manager Warren said the City has 10 medals they can present for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, and asked the public to consider nominating someone to receive a medal.

To be eligible for a medal, the recipient must be a resident of Saskatchewan or have a link to Saskatchewan (at the time of the grant of the medal); have made a contribution to Canada, Saskatchewan, or a particular region or community; and be alive on February 6, 2022, the 70th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the Throne.

A total of 7,000 medals are available in the province, and the City has a deadline of Oct. 31 for any local nominations of worthy individuals.