The Town of Drumheller Council & Administration are seeking citizen budget priorities for the 2021 Annual Operations Budget through an online budgeting tool called Ethelo.
"We are looking forward to launching this product to the community," begins CAO Darryl Drohomerski. "We initially planned to launch Ethelo in 2020, but was stalled to launch due to the pandemic. Ethelo is a fairly simplistic tool that allows us to capture resident feedback regarding what they believe their residential property taxes should be allocated toward."
Residents can allocate funding in the amount they desire to certain service categories; General Government, Public Works & Transportation Services, Garbage Collection, Family Community Support Services, Community Services & Economic Stimulus, Recreation and Cultural Services and Protective Services. Users can also make trade-offs by selecting the service categories that are most important to them, while balancing off the other service categories to ensure the proposed budget is balanced and obtainable.
"A really interesting component of this tool is participants have an opportunity to compare their answers with other users to gauge the differences, or similarities of how the spending was allocated," shares Councillor Tony Lacher. "We are looking forward to seeing the results."
Users have until February 10, 2021 to participate, and edit their budget, provide feedback or see updated group results and comments. Administration and Council will be reviewing information gathered by the Citizen Budget tool on February 22, 2021, before budget deliberations begin. In early March, Council will approve the 2021-2022 Operating Budget and this budget information will be communicated back to the community.
"There is consideration that this project is solely an online component. We don't have an opportunity to do in person consultation like we've traditionally done in the past," continues Drohomerski. "However, this method of public participation could result in more feedback than we've ever had."
An operations budget is approved yearly by Council that includes revenues, recoveries, and expenditures relating to ongoing operational items in the organization. The operations budget is one of two types of budgeting through the town; operations and capital. Capital Budget is the Town's plan to purchase, build, maintain, repair and potentially replace assets among the community. For example, snow removal is included in the annual operational budget; a new sander would be considered in the capital budget.
Public Participation for the 2021 Capital Budget will be in March 2021.
To get started, please visit https://drumhellervalley.ethelo.net/page/welcome