Citizen Budget 2008
Read: 2008 Citizen Budget Survey Summary
Despite Think City and City of Vancouver surveys that show a majority of citizens support expanding or maintaining civic services, city council made cuts to parks services and no substantive expansion of funding for libraries, civic grants, cultural services and other city departments.
"The city's 2008 budget does not represent the views of citizens surveyed by Think City or the City of Vancouver," said Think City Citizen Budget organizer Erica McCollum. "Why should citizens take part in budget consultation exercises, if city hall just ignores the results?"
"Mayor Sam Sullivan and city council voted to make cuts to the parks board, and most other city services will receive no change in funding," said Think City Citizen Budget organizer Bill Hopwood.
"Think City surveyed 1,648 citizens through its web site or on the street between March 8-31, 2008, and the message we heard from the public was clear - the vast majority said they want no cuts to city services," said Hopwood. "In fact, many citizens want the city to boost funding for libraries, cultural services, community centres, parks, civic grants and other city services."
"Moreover, the City of Vancouver's own public survey conducted in February backs up Think City's findings," said Hopwood. "Out of 706 residents and businesses surveyed by city hall, the majority called for expanding or maintaining services not cutting. In fact, according to the City Choice's survey, at least 89 per cent of businesses and residents called for maintaining or increasing funding to the parks board, yet the parks board is slated for more cuts."
"When the public freely gives city council their time to let them know their concerns about civic matters, they need to feel they have been listened to," said McCollum. "The attempt to engage citizens in politics beyond voting for a representative every few years is an important part of a healthy democracy, but if it is not done in a genuine way, it can further alienate the public."In addition to the Citizen Budget survey, Think City collaborated with the University of British Columbia's (UBC) political science department to hold a deliberative survey forum on the city budget. UBC students also developed four backgrounder papers on the city budget to provide citizens with more information on the key budget issues facing city council in 2008. The papers are available below: here for a complete summary of the Citizen Budget survey.