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Sutton launches its first participatory budgeting
The Town of Sutton has earmarked a total $50,000 of its investment budget for one or more projects proposed by citizens, chosen by citizens and to be realized by the Town in 2024. Information sessions and workshops will be held to help citizens generate, propose and improve their ideas.
A participatory budgeting is a democratic process that enables the population to decide how to use part of the municipal budget. It gives the population the chance to propose a project and, importantly, to vote for their preferred project.
The Town Council mandated the Quality of Life Consultative Committee to draft this first Participatory Budgeting game rules. To do so members of the Committee attended specialized training, reviewed the process in many other municipalities and have the support of the Centre d’écologie urbaine de Montréal to ensure best practice is followed. “The Council is delighted with the work of the committee. I look forward to seeing citizens of all ages propose ideas followed by the realization of the projects chosen by the population by vote,” said the Mayor of Sutton, Robert Benoît.
According to the established game rules, projects must be sustainable and last for several years. Generally speaking, projects must be located on public property or land owned by the Town. For example, citizens can propose the purchase of equipment or assets, landscaping or the purchase of sustainable vegetation such as trees. No matter their age, any citizen of Sutton can propose a project and any citizen of Sutton aged 10 or over will be able to vote for their favourite projects from a final list.
FORM FOR THE SUBMISSION OF A PROJECT
The timeline set by the committee includes the following major steps:
1. Project submission by citizens: June 29, 2023, at noon
2. Analysis of projects for feasibility and possible improvement: from July to September 2023
3. Voting by citizens: from October 10 to 22, 2023
4. Realization of one or more projects by the Town: 2024
Anyone who wishes to know more and especially everyone who may be interested in proposing a project is strongly suggested to attend one of the two bilingual information sessions:
- Virtual information meeting via Zoom to be held on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at 7 p.m. A sign up is obligatory by sending an e-mail to [email protected].
- In-person information meeting to be held on Sunday, April 30, 2023, at 10 a.m., in the council room of Sutton Town Hall. The meeting will be recorded and broadcast live on the Town’s YouTube channel.
All relevant documents (Frequently Asked Questions—FAQ, steps in the process, eligibility of projects and submission process, etc.) will be available on paper upon request at the reception desk of the Town Hall and at the Tourist Information Office. The information will also be available online at all times on the Dream Sutton website.
By introducing this first participatory budgeting the Town hopes to stimulate public participation and take full advantage of the creativity of citizens of all ages in proposing projects that will improve some aspect of life in the community.
Sutton Participatory Budget Ideation Workshop - Saturday, May 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Following the launch of the participatory budgeting on April 19, two public information sessions – one virtual, the other in person – were held to explain the entire process and the steps involved in carrying out the project. More than 30 people attended.
Now, we are at the stage of the IDEAS GENERATION WORKSHOP that will welcome anyone interested in submitting a project or getting involved in the development of an idea.
An Ideas generation workshop…
…What is it for? It serves to inspire and welcome ideas, exchange and reflect on proposed projects. It will be led by bilingual facilitators.
…What are its objectives? Its purpose is to generate ideas for projects, to develop ideas that interest you, to create links with other citizens and different generations.
…Who can participate? Any citizen of any age who: 1) has a specific project idea, or 2) wants to submit a project, but needs inspiration, or 3) just wants to help others develop their project ideas. If you were unable to attend one of the two information sessions, it would be helpful to view the presentation by clicking HERE before attending the workshop.
…When is it? Saturday, May 13, 2023, 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
…Where is it? In the Council Room of Town Hall
Important: If you intend to submit a project, you are not required to attend the ideation workshop, but it is recommended that you participate to ensure that you have all the elements in hand. You can submit a project directly by filling out the online or paper project submission form (click in the upper right corner to switch to the English version).
What is the 2023 participatory budget?
To fully understand the participatory budget process, please read the information on this page which will be updated as the project progresses.
- Check out the Frequently Asked Questions in the FAQ section above: general questions and questions asked at the information sessions.
- Follow the steps in the Approach on the right (orange section)
- Read the Game rules by clicking in Useful links on the right (purple section)
All relevant documents will be available in hard copy, upon request, at the Town Hall reception desk and at the Tourist Information Office.
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General questions and answers
(followed by Frequently Asked Questions from the information sessions)
What is a participatory budget?
A democratic process by which the citizens of Sutton decide how a portion of the Town’s budget is spent.
Citizens are invited to submit, and vote on their favourite projects that they would like the Town to realize.
What are the objectives of the participatory budget?
- To allow the citizens of Sutton to propose and vote for projects that meet the needs or interests of all, or certain groups, of the population.
- Encourage citizen and collective involvement.
- Promote awareness of the democratic process.
The sum reserved by the Town of Sutton for the first edition of the participatory budget.
Who can propose a project?
A Sutton Citizen1 of legal age who is the Project lead.
A group of citizens, represented at the different stages of the process by a Sutton Citizen, the Project Lead.
A minor citizen of Sutton represented by a Sutton Citizen of legal age, the Project Lead.
1A citizen of Sutton is defined as a natural person who resides in Sutton as a tenant or member of a family who rents a dwelling OR a natural person who is the owner or co-owner of a land or building
Who can vote?
All Sutton Citizens 10 years of age and older.
Which project is eligible?
To be eligible for the participatory budget, any project submitted to the vote must meet the following criteria:
- Proposed by an eligible Sutton Citizen.
- Aim for the common good and the collective interest.
- Take the form of an equipment purchase, a capital asset, landscaping work or the purchase of plants.
- Require an investment of no more than $50,000.
- Could start in 2023 and be completed by December 2024.
- Be located on land owned by the Town of Sutton or on public land for which the Project Lead has obtained a signed consent acceptable to the Town.
- Not already in progress or planned by the Town (budget allocated).
- Have a useful life of at least 3 years.
- Be financially, technically, and legally feasible within the financial framework and time frame described.
A project will be deemed ineligible if it:
- Violates the laws, regulations, policies, action plans of the Town of Sutton and the laws governing the Town.
- Requires recurring costs (unless minimal) and ongoing operating or staffing expenses.
- Requires acquisition of land, premises or a building.
- The benefits generated by its use, usage or installation must not be for private use at any time.
Steps in the process
- Launch of the participatory budget process and citizen information meetings
- Presentation of the Game Rules describing the different steps of the Sutton participatory budget 
- Announcement of the composition of the steering committee to the population of Sutton.
- Ideas generation workshops and submission of a draft project by citizens.
- Public sessions with facilitators, to generate project ideas and help those who have them to present them.
- Citizens can submit their project ideas by filling out the online submission form or its paper version.
- Preliminary assessment of project eligibility and online publication of eligible projects.
- The steering committee ensures that the projects submitted comply with the eligibility criteria.
- Where possible, suggestions will be made to the sponsor of an ineligible project to make it eligible.
- Presentation and enhancement of eligible projects in public session
- A workshop that allows eligible Project Leads to present their project to the public and to benefit from tools and advice to improve it.
- Submission of the final version of each eligible project
- An amendment form will be available online or in hard copy at Town Hall reception or at the Sutton tourist Information office.
- Evaluation and enhancement of eligible projects by the Town
- Verification of the feasibility of each eligible project to make it achievable, by the Town administration.
- Information given to Project Leaders and the public on the results of this assessment.
- Selection, publication of eligible projects and voting by citizens
- Publication of the list of eligible projects that will be submitted to a vote.
- Each Sutton citizen aged 10 and over is entitled to a vote which will take the form of ranking up to three eligible projects in order of preference. The leading project will be the one receiving the highest total score.
- Compilation of the votes and unveiling of the selected projects
- Compilation of the votes by the steering committee.
- The results are forward to the Town Council who confirm by resolution the project(s) that will be implemented in 2024.
- Implementation of selected projects
- The Town of Sutton realizes the projects voted for by the citizens.
- Ongoing information on the progress and completion of the projects will be communicated to the population.
 The complete version of the Rules is available at www.revons.sutton.ca, along with all other related documents (forms, lists, etc.). The documents are also available at the Sutton tourist information office and Town Hall reception.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM THE INFORMATION SESSIONS
- Are pieces of land in Sutton Junction and Glen Sutton eligible for projects?
A= Absolutely! Subject to the rules of the game, projects anywhere in the municipality are welcome.
- Is it possible to make available a list of references to inspire us, ideas of projects that have been presented or realized elsewhere?
A = Many examples are available through an online search. A list has also been posted on www.revons.sutton.ca.
- Would the installation of a Morris column, used to display information about upcoming events, be an eligible project?
A = In principle yes if it is the purchase of the equipment, which has a life span of more than 3 years and requires little maintenance or time to update it. All the project owner must do is complete the project submission form suggesting the locations where it could be installed. Even if a project is not selected or chosen by the population, submitting a project through the participatory budget process also serves to communicate ideas to Council, which can take them into account during its mandate.
- When preparing a project’s cost estimate, should labour costs be included?
A = No, the Town will realize the selected project(s) and provide the required labour. In some cases, there may be opportunities for citizens to volunteer to help with the development.
- Can an organization hire or provide the manpower required to maintain a project once it is installed?
A = No, because it must be an investment that requires little or no recurring costs or operating expenses. A project may propose citizen involvement (e.g., plantings) at the installation stage, but must not be dependent on a citizen’s contribution for maintenance or conservation.
- Can a project be proposed by a non-profit organization?
A = Projects must be proposed by citizens of Sutton not by organizations.
- Once a project is submitted, if accepted, does the project owner hand it over to the Town and lose any right to intervene in its implementation?
A = Project(s) selected for realization “belong(s)” to the Town, which is responsible for implementing them while respecting as much as possible the vision of the project owner. The parties are guided by what was voted on by the citizens. A dialogue between the project owner and the Town should continue.
- The rules of the game call for the project to be “feasible” by December 2024; how can citizens know this if it is the Town who will be realizing the project?
A = Project owners do not have control over the implementation, but they must be confident that the project is achievable with a year rather than over several years. It is expected that a participatory budget process will be initiated each year. The more interest and participation there are from citizens, the more open Council will be to renewing it.
- Can a project owner withdraw their idea once it is submitted?
A = Yes, but only prior to the voting period.
- The rules of the game state that proposed projects must be on Town land or public land. What is “public land”?
A = Property that is not owned by an individual or a private company. The land must be open to the public. The Sutton School and Foyer are examples of “public land” as is land owned by a not-for-profit organization (NPO). The choice of a suitable site for the installation of the project will be made on a case-by-case basis, through collaboration between the Town and the project owner. If the project is to be installed on a site not owned by the Town, it is the responsibility of the project owner to obtain a preliminary written authorization from the organization and to include it with the project submission. The Town will ensure that a more complete and satisfactory agreement is obtained, taking into account legal constraints and Town needs. Failing this, the project will have to be located elsewhere. A project installed on public property belongs to the Town, regardless if it is installed or developed on property that does not belong to the Town.
- To be eligible, does the Town land on which it is proposed to be located or developed must be located in the Village Core or can it be located elsewhere?
A = It is true that most “Town-owned” land is in the Village Core, but a project can be proposed on any Town-owned land e.g. Glen Sutton, Sutton Junction or the Mountain).
- What is the amount allocated for this first edition?
A = Total is $50,000. This amount can be allocated to one or more projects, depending on the value of the project prioritized by the greatest number of citizens.
- What is the difference between the idea generation (or ideation) workshop and the improvement workshop?
A = The Ideas Generation workshop is used to generate new ideas, to stimulate creativity to lead to project proposals that will eventually be developed and submitted. The Improvement workshop will bring together eligible project owners. They will have the opportunity to present their projects to the public to 1) test the public’s interest, 2) receive suggestions from them to improve the projects, if any, or 3) in the event that projects are similar, to bring them together.
- How to evaluate the costs of a project?
A = Don’t worry too much about the cost estimate. Do some research and provide as good an estimate as you can. The Town administration will work with the project owners to produce an accurate estimate. Do not include labour costs as it is the Town who will realize the project. Select sturdy, quality materials as they will be subject to public use.
- Event-based projects are not eligible. What do we mean by “event-based”? For example, would the acquisition of art objects for an exhibition be eligible?
A = If it’s an investment which has at least a three-year life span and it’s accessible to the public, it would be eligible (subject to meeting the other rules of the game of course). An event is not eligible because it is a one-time or repeated activity, as opposed to the acquisition of tangible equipment or vegetation.
- What “groups” can submit a project?
A = A group of Sutton citizens can present a project but not an organization (such as an NPO). If a group presents a project, they must designate a project leader to represent them.
- Would the museum grounds be a good site for a project?
A = Absolutely! It will be added to the list of eligible lands on the website (www.dream.sutton.ca). There may be other eligible Town-owned that they do not appear on this list as it is not exhaustive.
Adoption of criteria by the Committee
5 April 2023
Virtual Public Information Session
27 April 2023
(7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.)
In-person Public information session
30 April 2023
(10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.)
Ideas Generation Workshop
13 May 2023
(9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
Initial project submission deadline
29 June 2023
Preliminary assessment of the eligibility of submitted projects
3 July 2023
End of step : July 7, 2023
Ideas enhancement workshop
18 July 2023
(7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
Deadline for submission of amended projects
7 August 2023
Analysis and improvement (if applicable) of projects by the administration
8 August 2023
End of step : September 18, 2023
Determination of the final list of projects to be submitted to the vote
18 September 2023
End of step : September 22, 2023
10 October 2023
End of voting period : October 22, 2023
Compilation of votes
23 October 2023
End of step : September 24, 2023
Adoption of the prioritized project(s) by the Board
1 November 2023
Implementation and construction of the prioritized project(s)
2 November 2023
End of step : October 1, 2024
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This page was last modified : 15 May 2023
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