I'm heading to Golden for the latest Community Conversation.  This one should be lively!  We're talking about "value for money" and how you decide when you're getting good value, both in your private life and -- more particularly -- in the services you get from your town.  We'll also delve into the prickly area of public debt, whether there is "good" public debt and "bad" public debt, and how to tell the difference.  I'm expecting a lively discussion and lots of differing opinions!

One of the ways that I judge "value for money" when it comes to our annual property taxes and Town utility bills is to take a moment to think about what it would cost me to provide each of those services independently.  What if I had to have a well for water, a septic field for sewage, if I had to hire a private security firm to police my area, and a private set of contractors to provide fire protection.  What if my neighbours and I had to hire a contractor each year to plough our street, sweep the gravel up in the spring, and fill our potholes.  What if ... well, you get the drift.  Of course, I also keep track of how much the total dollar figure changes from year to year, and whether I agree with the services that are being added.

I also need my municipality to be transparent -- to publish budgets and audited financial statements and to answer questions about services.  After all, if they're doing a great job and saving me money, they'll be proud to make that information available!


On Tuesday, I'm heading to B.C. for the kick-off meeting for an exciting new project with the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments.  We'll be piloting a citizen engagement approach in three communities, with the potential that it may -- if it's well-received -- roll out to many more.  I'm looking forward to working with the mayors and councillors to make these evening events lively, informative and well-attended.