City seeks public input at upcoming neighborhood budget meetings
February 15, 2012 · Updated 11:05 AM
The City of Redmond wants to hear from you on how to manage your money.
City officials are seeking input on the 2013-14 budget at a series of upcoming neighborhood meetings at City Hall. The meetings will broken up by neighborhood and residents and business people in the city's 10 neighborhoods will have a chance to talk about how they would like the city to spend their tax dollars.
For the third budget cycle in a row, the city will be using its citizen-driven Budgeting by Priorities (BP) process to formulate its next money plan, which is created every two years.
City staff members will be gathering budget input from residents and business people through its Neighborhood Network meetings, a city outreach program in its second year. The meetings will be broken up by neighborhood and the common question to residents at all the meetings will be "What are your priorities for your neighborhood?" said City of Redmond senior planner Kimberly Dietz.
A key component to BP is citizen involvement, according to Mike Bailey, City of Redmond finance director. City staff members will then take that input and consider it for the upcoming budget, Bailey said.
"We are really working hard to try and make it make sense to the community and not be inside baseball where if you don't know how the city functions, then you feel you can't really contribute to the thinking," he said. "We really want to structure it around the way people think about their community."
The first meeting on Feb. 23 will cover the discussions concerning the downtown and Overlake neighborhoods — the city's two designated urban centers. The meetings will continue March 1 for the Bear Creek, Education Hill, north Redmond and southeast Redmond neighborhoods and March 7 for the Grass Lawn, Idylwood, Sammamish Valley and Willows/Rose Hill neighborhoods. All of the meetings will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at City Hall, 15670 N.E. 85th St.
The upcoming meetings will give residents an opportunity to visit with city officials, ask questions of city staff regarding programs and projects and learn about the BP process. Participants will also share ideas in small neighborhood-based discussion groups.
In previous BP outreach efforts, the city held one large community meeting, which wasn't well attended during the last budget planning cycle in 2010. But this time around, city staff decided to incorporate a budget input component with the Neighborhood Network program, a successful program which began last year as way to connect neighbors and educate the public about city programs and projects.
"Last year's Neighborhood Network meetings were so successful, we realized this was a natural venue for our budget meetings as well," Redmond Mayor John Marchione said in a press release. "The smaller neighborhood meetings create better communication and based on last year's attendance, will likely result in greater participation compared to our previous budget meeting approach."
City staff will take all of the input from citizens through conversations and comment cards at the meetings and report back to the planning commission and City Council. A budget team featuring city officials and one resident will then examine the feedback and make recommendations to Mayor Marchione sometime this summer.
Marchione is scheduled to present his proposed 2013-14 budget to City Council in October. Council will then vote on the budget sometime in November or December after a series public budget hearings.
So now is the time to let your voice be heard, Marchione said.
"I encourage all residents to attend their Neighborhood Network meeting," Marchione said in an email to the Reporter. "This is a chance to build community. You will meet your neighbors, learn about city services and have ample opportunity to provide feedback to us. This year we added a budget component. The city creates a budget every two years. This is your opportunity to tell us what you think should be the highest priorities."
For more information about the upcoming meetings, visit www.redmond.gov/residents/neighborhoods or contact Dietz at (425) 556-2415 or firstname.lastname@example.org.