The City of Prince George is asking residents to weigh in on spending priorities for the 2021 annual budget in the face of a significant shortfall due to COVID-19 and with a number of high profile projects that continue to run over budget. While expecting the unexpected may be the only course of action in the face of another surge of COVID cases in BC, Councilor Garth Frizzell, chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, says, “it’s more important than ever to get that feedback."
Amidst ballooning construction costs and questions over allocation of funds, the calls for transparency and accountability are audible. The growing popular movement and a series of well attended Black Lives Matter protests in Prince George brought to the fore questions about the efficacy of municipal spending on the RCMP. According to the interactive survey, city spending on the RCMP currently accounts for 24.5 per cent of spending, the largest portion of the pie by a full 5 per cent. This is just one area of spending in which residents are asked to provide feedback.
The online City Budget Survey (available until Nov. 9) asks participants to measure the importance of certain funding priorities and make adjustments to how their property taxes are spent. But City Councilor Frizzell states there are many factors that go in to the decision-making process and encourages community feedback in many forms throughout the year.
City Council will meet in early 2021 to finalize the coming year’s budget.
Interview with Garth Frizzell, chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, City of Prince George: