A Halifax councillor is asking his constituents a $92,000 question. Waye Mason wants to know what projects people in his district are passionate about, and what is worth funding.
All 16 councillors in Halifax Regional Municipality are allotted some money to spend on small projects in their district. This year they each have $92,000.
Up until now, councillors have decided how district capital funds are spent.
But Councillor Waye Mason wants some help figuring out how to spend that money in Peninsula South Downtown. For the first time, he’s going to let people in his district weigh in.
But it’s not as simple as picking a cause. Next Wednesday, he’ll have a meeting just to explain the rules.
"The thing is, the policy is 17 pages long," said Mason. "So explaining it face to face, and having people there who can work with volunteer groups and not-for-profits on their projects to make sure it meets the policy is what the first meeting is about."
The projects have to be for the public good and on municipal or not-for-profit land.
Mason will then invite his district to a second meeting two weeks later.
"We're going to have them on project boards like at a science fair, and we’re going to let people go around and talk to the proponents," he said.
"Then we're going to vote on what are our priorities for the $92,000."
This is the first time decisions on the spending of capital district funds have been made this way. But Mason said other councillors are watching to see how his meetings go and may try the same thing.
The Mayor has also said he'd like more public participation in the overall budget process.