A group of concerned citizens are planning a gathering today to discuss the proposed budget and tax increase presented by Weyburn City Council.

The group will be meeting today at the Allie Griffin Auditorium, downstairs at the Weyburn Public Library, from 1:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

According to one of the organizers, Sean Abram, the idea is to discuss the proposed budget, help people understand how it compares to previous budgets, and to help residents submit their concerns to City Council.

"Through various discussions between people it came to my attention that not everyone was aware of the proposed 10.34% tax increase," said Sean in a message to DiscoverWeyburn. "By having a Public Meeting, advertising by word of mouth, through flyers and posters, distribution over social media it is hoped that these people can be reached to share their opinions and concerns."

He noted that the group is aware that City had previously asked for public feedback and the deadline for that feedback has passed. 

"The Deadline for Public Input as published by the City is not an authoritative or regulated deadline," Abram said. "Citizens have the right to provide their feedback at any time to Mayor, Councillors, and City Staff.  Restricting feedback to a time period that is convenient for City staff is no more than the stifling of free speech. We do applaud the efforts of the City in providing a window of time for citizens to provide feedback and having the ability to send them an email directly from the City’s webpage."

He also noted that they did reach out to City Council in hope that they would attend the event. 

"All of City Council (Mayor and Councillors) were emailed a copy of the poster that was being used to advertise the Public Meeting on November 30th, 2022. 

"To date there has been no response from any of City Council with respect to their attendance," he said. "We sincerely hope that City Council will attend and engage with the Citizens of Weyburn and that the Citizens of Weyburn come out to engage with each other and the City. Respectful communications and engagement is what builds communities."

In a response to DiscoverWeyburn, the City did note that they are aware of the public event. 

"This is not an accredited City event and therefore any information shared is of the opinion of those presenting. The public input portion of the 2023 municipal budget process closed on November 18," noted the City in a release to DiscoverWeyburn. "Weyburn City Council and City administration have carefully considered all input provided during the public engagement process for the 2023 municipal budget. City Council thanks everyone who participated and helped shape the upcoming budget."

Following the November 18th deadline, residents were given the chance to speak about the proposed change at City Council on November 28th. While a number of people showed up to the meeting, the only ones who put their name forward to speak ahead of the meeting were the Weyburn Youth Council.

The release also noted that the final proposed budget will be presented on December 12th during City Council's regular meeting and anyone who has any questions, comments or concerns can contact City Hall at any time. 

"The City of Weyburn aims to engage with residents, businesses, and stakeholders to collect input that helps us build a vibrant community for all. Inquiries and comments can be made at any time of the year to questions@weyburn.ca or by calling City Hall at (306) 848-3200. Delegations are also an important part of the municipal process. A delegation is a person or group who would like to speak before Weyburn City Council regarding a presentation, an issue, or a concern that is important to them or their community. Delegations are welcome to appear before Weyburn City Council during regularly scheduled meetings."