View Royal's Citizen Budget: "Share Your View"

On February 25, 2020 Council approved a recommendation "That the 2020-2024 Financial Plan [PDF - 7 MB] include online citizen budget engagement in 2020/2021 to be funded by taxation".  This aligns with one of the goals in View Royal's Strategic Plan for "strong and active citizen participation in community engagement", including that for budget development.

As part of Council’s ongoing commitment to transparency and engaging with residents, the Town of View Royal is implementing a two-year trial of an online Citizen Budget engagement tool that enables residents to provide input and voice their opinions on the annual budget prior to final adoption.

An online citizen engagement tool specific to budget provides real-time, objective, and transparent communication about the budget process, revenue sources and spending priorities, and collects informed feedback to Council. 

Citizens don’t currently have the opportunity to provide specific feedback on the various facets of the budget, or on the impact any changes could mean on their property tax bill. Council meetings at which the budget is debated are open to the public and information about the budget is available on View Royal’s public website. A Budget Open House has been hosted in prior years, however these events were poorly attended (typically less than 5 citizens attended).

View Royal has engaged the services of Ethelo, a patented web technology that enables organizations such as local governments to reach decisions faster by focusing their collective intelligence. The company's online engagement platform is used by numerous private and public organizations, including the Capital Regional District, Vancouver Coastal Health, and the Government of Canada to name just a few. The Citizen Budget template allows participants to enter their property value, and allocate their personal tax bill across the various municipal departments, understanding how tax dollars are spent and seeing the effects that cutting or increasing spending will have on municipal services and on their tax bill.

Responses will be securely aggregated, analyzed, and reported to Council at the conclusion of the four to six week engagement window. 

The total expenditure for the engagement tool is $11,500 over the two-year life of the pilot ($6500 in year 1; $5000 in year 2). It is expected that a portion of the cost will be offset with the elimination of the public open house normally held during the budget process.

Benefits/Opportunities 

  • Increased citizen engagement and improved community relations;
  • A better-informed taxpayer who has greater understanding of the municipal budgeting process. A well-designed participatory budgeting process can help engender greater constituent approval of public expenditures and enables citizens to provide assistance to municipal officials in making difficult decisions, especially when dealing with limited public resources; and
  • Participatory budgeting provides citizens an opportunity to learn about government and to deliberate, debate, and potentially influence the allocation of public resources.

Frequently Asked Questions [PDF - 164 KB] 

The budget simulator tool is now closed. Results will come forward to the April 14, 2020 Special Council meeting.

For more information: