Network wants to talk about budget

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This article was published 04/06/2014 (3167 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A group of South Winnipeggers is doing something a little different when it comes to informing residents about the city’s budget.

The Fort Garry Community Network (FGCN) is putting on an event on Fri., Jun. 6 to educate and gather input from the public on the upcoming city council budget.

The FGCN was established in 1999. The network is comprised of child and youth service organizations, family support agencies, senior services and faith communities. Government and education sectors are also represented.

Supplied photo From left to right: Jane Bridle (Fort Garry Public Library), Robyn Chase (Fort Garry/St. Norbert Healthy Child Coalition), Julie Fisher (Pembina Trails School Division), and Janice Lukes (Active Transportation South Winnipeg). The four are part of the Fort Garry Community Network, which is hosting a meeting June 6 at which residents can discuss and provide input on the city’s budget.

“The public is invited to come, learn and offer their comments,” says Janice Lukes, a member of Active Transportation South Winnipeg, one of the over 20 groups that comprise the FGCN.

“It’s designed to stimulate thinking, to question assumptions and to help participants think creatively about the levels of service, revenue sources and priorities of spending to achieve a future that matters to all Winnipeggers.”

The Victoria General Hospital, the Pembina Trails School Division and Winnipeg Technical College are just a few of the organizations that have representatives in the FGCN. The FGCN meets every few months to discuss issues within the communities that surround them.

The initiative — called Our Budget, Forward — by the City of Winnipeg is a brand-new process to engage residents. The FGCN is hoping to help them out with the development by hosting a public conversation on Budget 2015.

In turn, the city has provided the FGCN with a third-party organization, Dialogue Partners, to help the public understand the nuances of taxes and where that money goes.

“They will provide expertise by walking us through a process of understanding where our tax dollars go and how they are spent,” says Lukes. “They will be on hand on June 6 to talk with people about the budget and ask questions and stimulate dialogue.”

With the upcoming elections in Winnipeg, the FGCN sees this as the right time to engage the community.

“With the upcoming election, there will be an opportunity for change,” says Lukes. “It’s worthwhile that we all come together to give our input and thoughts to the city to make informed decisions on how tax dollars are spent. We want to make our communities a better place to work, live and play.”

Interested parties are encouraged to attend the meeting on June 6 at 9:30 a.m. at Mary Mother of the Church meeting room at 85 Kirkbridge Dr. Those unable to attend the event but who would still like to provide input, or those would like more information, can visit www.winnipeg.ca/2015budget

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