Budget consultation a first for Launceston

In a first for Tasmanian Local Government, Launceston residents were able to have their say on how Council's budget should be shaped before being adopted. The Council has changed its process and will now consult the community before setting the 2011/12 Annual Budget.

Launceston Aldermen approved the release of the proposed 2011/12 Annual Budget for community consultation. The budget document was made along with a series of fact sheets explaining specific details of the proposed budget.

Launceston City Council General Manager Robert Dobrzynski believes this is the first time the Launceston City Council, and any Local Government in Tasmania, has given residents the opportunity to have their say on the budget before the plan is adopted.

As part of this process, the Council ran two Community Consultation Sessions on 15 and 16 June.

"The objectives of the Proposed Budget, the influencing factors, the proposed rates and the services and capital works programs were outlined at each of these sessions," he said. "Many of the residents who attended the sessions took the opportunity to ask questions about various aspects of the proposed plan.

"Residents were able to submit written comments about the Proposed Budget. These submissions were then taken into account by the Aldermen before the adoption of the budget for 2011/12.

"This is part of Council's focus on engaging our community in the decision making process."

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the Council is seeking to engage with residents on the delivery of services and capital works projects, which reflect the community's priorities.

"Our municipality is made up of differing communities and this is an effective way to make sure we're listening to all residents," the Mayor said. "In the past, the Council has held an information session to let residents know what has been included in the budget.

"This new process enables residents to have their say before the budget is adopted, giving them an opportunity to shape how the Council allocates funds."