City Council is moving forward with a public engagement process to help determine budget priorities for the city’s next three year cycle beginning in 2012.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it means we will all get a say as to how our tax dollars should be spent.

“To do our budgeting in a way that is participatory, that is inclusive, that brings the public into the conversation,” Mayor Nenshi tells 660News, “to let us know what their priorities are.”

Mayor Nenshi says the current budget process tends to look at incremental changes, which he says pretty much guarantees departmental base budgets grow year over year, and works on the assumption that the status quo suffices.

“This is a real opportunity for us to take a step back and say:  Look here’s the suite of things the city does. What’s missing here, what’s here that shouldn’t be here,” says Nenshi, who adds the process will include both face-to-face meetings with members of the public, as well as online input. “It should really understand the beginning of the process with the base level of what people expect from their city.”

“You know we’re going from 15 problem solvers around the City Council table,” Nenshi continues, “to 14 thousand problem solvers in the employees of the city, to 1.2 million problem solvers in the people of Calgary.  And I’m confident we’ll come up with better results.”

The Mayor says the public engagement process — called “Our City, Our Budget, Our Future” — will be rolled out February 11th.  The results will be taken into account for the next three year cycle which begins next year.