Mayor and Council, as well as many City staff members, were in attendance at Wednesday night’s Town Hall meeting to discuss the 2019 Draft Financial Plan (Twitter/City of Victoria)

Victoria city council sees full house to discuss 2019 budget

Wednesday’s Town Hall meeting saw a full house, in person and online

Victoria residents and City staff took four hours on Wednesday night to discuss the 2019 Draft Financial Plan.

The Town Hall meeting featured city officials speaking on topics including climate change, taxes, funding for the arts, policing and community grants.

READ MORE: Victoria police defends call for more officers, role in overdose prevention

Citizen engagement was high, with a full house in person, as well as engagement online.

“I’m just so overwhelmed by the wisdom and thoughtfulness of our community,”,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “People were really informed and had a lot of good perspective.”

Over 80 questions and comments were fielded during the meeting, with the most popular topic centering on the police budget.

Other popular topics included bus lanes and active transportation – including the continued development of the bike lane network – and the use of city funds for capital spending, including infrastructural and recreational development.

Helps said she’s excited to have more public engagement like this , and in the meeting said more town halls are planned.

“We plan to begin holding town halls four times per year so that council can hear directly from the public for our own method of engagement,” she said.

Another engagement summary will also take place on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Victoria Conference Centre to discuss the Draft Strategic Plan.

READ MORE: City of Victoria releases ambitious draft Strategic Plan

Starting Feb. 4, council will compile and discuss the gathered information before making any final approvals.

Helps noted that while an official budget can’t be released until government assessments have been completed in late March, most decisions should be made by Feb. 14.

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