Carlen Cire checks out some of the Town of Ponoka budget considerations Wednesday

Budget open house brings residents’ concerns to the table

Residents had their chance to speak up on the Town of Ponoka’s budget process Wednesday, Sept. 9 during an open house session.

Residents had their chance to speak up on the Town of Ponoka’s budget process Wednesday, Sept. 9 during an open house session.

One of the biggest challenges for council, says Coun. Marc Yaworski, and deputy mayor as Mayor Rick Bonnett was away, is planning for projects without stable funding from the federal and provincial governments.

“We have provincial money that we may or may not get,” said Yaworski.

He added that whether money is provided or not, council must still act on important projects such as the North Bridge and road realignment project. To help deal with those challenges, council is looking at different ideas to gain more revenue such as the town owning its own utility services, explained Yaworski. “It’s something that we talk about.”

Betty Quinlan, director of corporate services for the Town of Ponoka, said planners will take the information provided at the open house and look at how it fits with the operation and capital budgets for the town. As an example, one resident had concerns over speeding.

“By hearing people’s concerns, it highlights areas we need to address,” explained Quinlan.

“So we might change our service delivery or create higher priorities within them,’ she added as an example.

The goal is to respond to residents’ needs in all areas of the town. Balancing wants and needs can be a tough challenge for budget planners and Quinlan says it becomes a question of prioritizing projects.

“There’s never enough money for everything. Capital budgets, usually we have to cut as much as we keep,” explained Quinlan.

In its strategic planning, the town has created guiding pillars that help provide structure in the budget deliberation process. Areas such as quality of life and infrastructure are addressed in these pillars. Quinlan added that infrastructure needs such as water and sewer tend to be the priority as they are a necessity.

The four pillars are:

· Vibrant lifestyle infrastructure

· Economic growth

· Operational excellence

· Leadership and good government

Yaworski added that recreation is an important aspect of the planning process for council. He feels recreation will become a necessity due to aging recreation facilities such as the aquaplex.

“We need to have facilities for young families who want to move to Ponoka,” said Yaworski.

He feels offering those amenities will help the town grow.

A survey is available for residents to add their thoughts to the process. Find the link here: http://www.ponoka.ca/town-hall/333-2015-budget-survey.

Just Posted

WATCH: Packed crowd at Ponoka Festival of Trees

The Calnash Ag Event Centre was busy all weekend during the Festival fundraiser

Marijuana legislation a concern for MLA Ron Orr

Legislation for impaired driving from marijuana a challenge

Prestigious honour earned by Ponoka Air Cadet

Ponoka’s 65 Air Cadets squadron named top air cadet corp in region

Ponoka RCMP investigate liquor theft

Police looking to identify the suspect in an alleged liquor theft

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

WATCH: Packed crowd at Ponoka Festival of Trees

The Calnash Ag Event Centre was busy all weekend during the Festival fundraiser

Canadian screen stars want ‘action’ from industry meeting on sexual misconduct

‘Of course there’s been sexual harassment here. Absolutely. No question.’

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

BC Hydro issues storm safety tips

Bulletin indicates “electrical contact incidents resulting in serious injury are on the rise.”

Cost to fix Phoenix pay system to surpass $540 million: auditor general

Michael Ferguson’s review hints the entire system should be scrapped

UPDATE: CBS fires Charlie Rose following allegations

Charlie Rose is the latest public figure to be accused with sexual misconduct allegations

LGBTQ advocates want military, RCMP to take part in apology

“These are all the organizations that perpetrated past discrimination against the LGBTQ community.”

Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman

An auditor has found that Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman, when they can get through

B.C. mining company stakes claim in Australia

Copper Mountain is set to purchase Cloncurry Copper Project in a $93-million deal.

Most Read