(Cochrane, AB) – Cochrane residents are invited to provide their feedback on Cochrane services as a first step in developing the 2024-2026 operating budget.
Prior to drafting the budget, Administration is seeking to understand the community's desired level of service to ensure departmental business plans and budgets reflect community demand and design service delivery in an effective, efficient, and financially sustainable way.
“Engaging Cochrane residents during the budget process continues to be a priority for Council and Administration,” says Mike Derricott, Chief Administrative Officer, Town of Cochrane. “We are looking for feedback on municipal services: what is working for you, what isn’t, and how can we best serve the people of Cochrane — today and into the future.”
Earlier this year, Council and Administration formed a Budget Task Force. Over the last few months, the task force has reviewed the current budget process and made recommendations for improvement. One early example of the work stemming from the task force was outsourcing the budget engagement to a third-party consultant. This ensures that questions and results are statistically valid.
“Over the next few weeks, all Cochrane households will receive a postcard in the mail with a QR code and phone number inviting them to participate in the survey,” said Lisa Almond, Executive Director of Corporate Strategy & Culture, Town of Cochrane. “Some residents will also be contacted directly by phone. To ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate, the survey will also be posted on our Let’s Talk Cochrane public engagement website.”
Cochranites who have previously provided feedback through the engagement site may notice some changes, as the Town launches a new Let's Talk Cochrane portal.
The new portal provides enhanced opportunities for residents to participate in projects and decisions that impact the future of the community. The Town originally launched Let’s Talk in February 2018 to invigorate public engagement in Cochrane, and since its launch has hosted over 34 unique projects and initiatives. The updated portal provides many new and innovative ways to connect and gather data.
“Cochrane Council and Administration are committed to finding new, better and more effective ways to receive input from residents on topics that affect the community,” added Almond. “Engaging Cochrane residents during the budget process has always been important as we build a budget that reflects the community needs. We want to hear what matters to you, and what kind of community you want to live in. This information will help build operational budgets for departments throughout the municipality.”
Survey results will be presented to Council for consideration. Following Council’s direction, Administration will draft the 2024-2026 budget over the summer and provide a draft budget to Council in the fall. The budget is debated and finalized by Council in December and guides service-level decisions for the coming three years. A capital budget is also presented to Council for consideration, providing specific funding for infrastructure projects, equipment and fleet.
To participate in the survey and provide feedback, community members are invited to use the QR code or text link on the postcard delivered to each residence later this week or visit www.letstalkcochrane.ca. Additionally, an external consultant, Advanis, will be conducting a random telephone survey with Cochrane residents over the age of 18.
The online survey will be available from May 25 to June 15.
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