After really bad public participation in County budget open houses in 2017 and 2018 (approx. 11 and 5 attendees respectively), this year the County elected to go online only. The results of 374 responses were presented to County Council at their meeting on August 28. Go to Links below to download the complete report – this post gives highlights. Charts showing top issues are provided and other concerns are summarized. See also the three links to comments pages – it seems that people get quite vocal when they are offered a chance to give anonymous comments.
The first two questions were revealing – 53% were not at all familiar with the process the County uses to develop their budget and 31% were not at all familiar with the services the county provides. This despite the fact that 32% of a Cobourg resident’s municipal tax bill goes to the County. See the links below for a post explaining what the County does.
The question on satisfaction showed that a surprising number are unhappy with a number of services with the worst being the County’s performance providing affordable housing.
But preferences on long term financial priorities showed an emphasis on keeping taxes down and providing long term care. It’s possibly relevant that the age categories represented were strongly skewed to 60 to 69.
When asked what were the most important issues, Housing/accommodation and Cost of living were at the top
A total of 10 questions were asked – a summary of responses to the other five is given here.
|Would you be willing to pay a further increase in your property taxes to maintain or expand levels of service?||50% NO – others willing to pay various amounts on top of planned increases.|
|Where do you live?||27% Cobourg, 25% Trent Hills, Brighton 12%, Port Hope 12%, Hamilton 9%, Alnwick/Haldimand 8%, Cramahe 6%, Not in Northumberland 1%|
|What is your age category?||0-20 0%, 20-29 4%, 30-39 12%, 40-49 11%, 50-59 24%, 60-69 29%, 70-79 19%, 80+ 1%|
|How do you identify?||Female 58%, Male 37%|
|How did you find out about the survey?||Facebook 40%, Online Media 25%, Word of Mouth 12%, Northumberland.ca 11%, Newspaper 7%, Other 5%|
Of course we should remember that although 374 is a whole lot better than 5, it is still a whole lot less than the number of people in the county: 86,000 (~70,000 are old enough to vote).
- County releases 2018 Financial report – Includes a summary of what the County does. 21 July 2019