Moose Javian's had their say, as the results from the 2023 Budget and City Services survey were released during Moose Jaw City Council’s meeting on Monday night. 

The survey ran from Sept. 16 to Oct. 10 and received 396 responses. According to the city’s survey platform Survey Monkey, it gives a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 per cent. 

City manager Jim Puffalt said, although the survey is over, he encourages residents to ask questions and have their voices be heard. 

“We certainly appreciate it if people send us inquiries and questions. We're glad to answer them. We encourage people to look at the press releases that we put out. We're glad to report on good things and things that are maybe not so good,” Puffalt said. 

The first two questions sent mixed signals to the city’s administration. About 58 per cent said they feel taxes are too high compared to the city services they receive, yet 53 per cent said they feel the quality of services they receive are satisfactory or excellent. 

When asked about what the city’s decision-making priorities should be for the 2023 Budget, the number one answer was attracting new and/or supporting existing businesses with 50 per cent. In comparison, last year’s survey also had businesses as the number one answer with 63.5 per cent. 

Respondents were asked to rate what the city’s spending priorities should be from one to nine. From highest to lowest, the results were roadways, water/wastewater infrastructure, public safety, environmental services, economic development, recreation services, parks and pathways, city planning and development, and transit. These results mirrored last year’s survey results. 

There was nearly a 50-50 split when respondents were asked if the city should increase taxation to recover costs of inflation. It was a shift from 56 per cent who said "yes" last year. 

Over 75 per cent of respondents said they would raise taxes to either maintain or expand and enhance current city services. Last year, over 80 per cent said “yes.” 

About 68 per cent also agreed with the city’s current practice of funding the waterworks utility from municipal taxation. 

About 73 per cent of respondents said bylaw enforcement was important to them and 84 per cent said that economic development is important for the city’s future. 

Respondents showed support for the city’s Climate Action Plan with 64 per cent of respondents saying the city should continue to focus on environmental protection and sustainability initiatives. 

When it comes to Parks and Recreation, 64 per cent said the city’s recreational programs and facilities are important to their families. 

About 53 per cent said a new outdoor pool should be made a priority in the capital budget. Respondents were asked how to fund the new pool. The top responses were taxes and levies and fundraising. 

There was another 50-50 split as to whether to increase user fees so that less revenue is needed from general taxation to fund recreation services, as opposed to staying with the 50 per cent recovery model. 

When it comes to the cultural plan, 57 per cent said that arts and culture are important for the community. 

Finally, when asked about the most important issues facing Moose Jaw today, the most common responses were crime, infrastructure, roads and businesses. 

Coun. Crystal Froese took note that crime was an important issue for residents. 

“Our citizens are really feeling the increase that we know we have here in our city with petty crime and some safety issues,” she said. 

Budget deliberations are scheduled to begin Nov. 22 with third-party funding presentations.