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Demystifying the budget

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Four neighbourhood groups are decoding the 1,000-page, $800-million city operating budget and $626-million six-year capital budget for bewildered and intimidated residents. And they’re asking people what they think.

Some councillors are, finally, lifting the veil on the controversial $10-million enhanced capital budget.

Slowly, not as much as other cities, but definitely and determinedly, we’re demystifying the biggest, most important job of city government: its budget.

Whatever else happens when councillors debate spending for 2018 Monday and Tuesday, this is good.

Community centres, parks, bike lanes, roads, alleys?

“Which are your priority?” a survey by United Way-funded neighbourhood groups downtown and in Glengarry, Ford City and Sandwich asked residents.

Which programs do you like — enforcing property standards in vacant buildings, bulk garbage pick-up, basement flooding subsidies?

Here’s the best one: “Tell us in your own words what neighbourhood issues … are the most important to you.”

The groups convened a public meeting to debate issues and narrow priorities.

They produced an infographic to simplify the information and a spreadsheet with more details.

They convened another........

© Windsor Star