Victoria City Council heard results from the public engagement initiatives that happened over the last month in regards to the Draft 2019 Financial Plan. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Many Victoria residents believe the VicPD budget is ‘too low’

City Council heard the results of a month-long public engagement survey

For over a month the City of Victoria conducted an online survey and public consultation to gather feedback on the Draft 2019 Financial Plan, which came out Dec. 17, 2018.

During that time 1, 483 citizens responded to an online budget survey, while hundreds gathered at the Budget Town Hall meeting.

READ MORE: City of Victoria releases draft 2019 budget

Of the online responders, 82.5 per cent live within the city, with 52 per cent owning property and 21 per cent owning or operating businesses.

The survey asked residents to rank their priorities, and judge how they felt money was being spent.

Respondents ranked the top strategic objectives as: affordable housing, strong livable community, good governance, sustainable transportation, climate leadership, health and well-being, prosperity and economic growth, and reconciliation.

READ MORE: Victoria city council sees full house to discuss 2019 budget

Most respondents said that spending on operating costs were “just right,” with the exception of the Victoria Police Department. Even though many residents sent messages criticizing the Victoria Police Department’s request for a $57 million budget, the largest group of respondents (36 per cent) voted that the police budget was too low, citing a need for more downtown security, mental health training and the return of school liaisons.

READ MORE: Victoria Police department seeks to hire 12 new staff members

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria teachers want school liaison officers back

Funding for the Victoria Fire Department was “just right.”

Overall, respondents felt that spending on capital projects was “just right” with the exception of spending on active transportation, which people categorized were “too high.”

Just over 51 per cent of citizens agreed with the proposed tax increase of 4.3 per cent.

When asked how the City should fund the new Employer Health Tax, 62.6 per cent responded with “use new tax revenue from new developments.”

To see the full, 285-page engagement summary, you can visit pub-victoria.escribemeetings.com/

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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