The City of Bayswater is shaking up its budgeting process by allowing ratepayers direct input into the development of its 2019/20 Operating Budget. The bold move will give community members the opportunity to provide input into the way resources are allocated across the City’s service areas.
Mayor Dan Bull said the City hoped to gain a better understanding of the services the community valued most.
"Putting together the City’s budget is one of the most challenging tasks Councillors face. Delivering the services the community value and managing increasing costs, all while trying to keep rates low is a balancing act. It takes months of planning and deliberation to get right.
“This is the first time a metropolitan Council has laid its entire operating budget out for the community to view and recommend changes.
"Located in the heart of the inner east, the City is poised to work hand in hand with its community to deliver a budget that reflects the services it truly values. I am hoping this new approach could lead to a whole new way for Council's to engage their communities on this important topic.
“We want to be as open and transparent as possible. What better way to do achieve this by offering the community a seat at the table when the City deliberates over its Budget?
“It makes perfect sense that ratepayers should be offered a say in how their rates are spent.
“Participatory budgeting is a completely fresh approach, and one that we’re trailing for the first time at the City of Bayswater. I’m confident the community will embrace the opportunity to have their say.”
From 24 November 2018, residents will have access to an online Budget Allocator Tool via the City’s Engage Bayswater portal at engage.bayswater.wa.gov.au. Participants can choose whether they would increase, decrease, or make no change to each of the City’s current service areas, and will be asked to balance the cost implications of each decision. The Budget Allocator Tool will be available until 31 January 2019.
From here, a community panel will be formed to deliberate on the budget in more detail. Council will then consider recommendations from the panel in putting together its 2019/20 Budget.
Residents are invited to register their interest in becoming part of the community panel by visiting engage.bayswater.wa.gov.au, contacting the City on 9272 0622, or will be prompted when completing the Budget Allocator Tool.
Those without access to a computer are encouraged to visit one of the City’s three libraries where staff can offer assistance using the Budget Allocator Tool on a public computer.
Council voted to adopt a participatory budgeting approach at its 18 September Committee Meeting after a motion was put forward by Cr Lorna Clarke.