The following note is from our City Liaison Mike Hill. He attended our early April public meeting and, along with Brad Dellaburr (Assistant Director of Transportation, Engineering and Public Works), gave us a thorough walk through of the process and the capital projects coming to our neighbourhood. Check out Mike’s comprehensive and informative presentation. Questions for Mike? You can call or email him at 250.361.0397 firstname.lastname@example.org
From Mike Hill in advance of our April meeting:
“Victoria City Council has asked staff to engage with neighbourhood associations early in the 2019 capital budget planning process. It is the City’s intent to improve our responsiveness to community priorities through budget planning. This engagement is intended as another step towards ensuring that residents understand the budget process and the opportunities for providing input.
A member of our transportation team and I would like to provide a 15 minute presentation followed by questions and comments at your meeting next week (April 4). The goal is to increase awareness of how the capital budgeting process works and to provide an early opportunity for feedback on some transportation-related projects that have been identified for your neighbourhood. We will review the 2018 capital projects scheduled for your neighbourhood and some of the projects that have been identified for 2019 and beyond.
Residents often express interest in pedestrian-related transportation projects and we would like to focus on discussing these with you. Features such as crosswalks, sidewalks, pedestrian signals and bus shelters each have assessment processes that staff use to identify priority projects for budget consideration. Through this engagement, we would like your local knowledge of conditions and concerns. Are there crosswalks without signals that you feel are urgent issues that should be addressed in the capital budget over the next few years? Have certain streets become busier and new issues emerged for pedestrians?
Feedback from this meeting will then be shared with City staff this spring, which is the beginning of the annual budgeting process. This fall, all residents and neighbourhood associations will have an opportunity to provide feedback within the broader community engagement process. After the fall engagement is complete, the budget will be taken to Council for approval.
About Budget Planning
The budget planning is a complex process of coordinating and prioritizing a large number of important projects competing for City resources. The City’s Strategic Plan provides high level guidance on budget priorities. Other plans such as the Parks and Open Spaces Master Plan, along with multi-year project commitments such as the Harbour Pathway also help define priorities.
Consideration is then given to prioritization and scheduling. For example, it may make sense to complete some projects while other work is being done at the location, or there may be greater risk to public safety that makes a project more urgent. The budget process is not about introducing new projects, rather it is about prioritizing projects that have already been identified.
There are always more projects than can be resourced with existing funding and staff support. It is therefore necessary to be diligent in identifying resource allocation and looking for creative ways to address community issues and improve neighbourhood quality of life.