Citizen engagement may soon reach the next level.

The city is looking to directly involve Calgarians in the next round of budgeting plans.

In late October, according to a document obtained by Metro, the city issued a request for proposals looking for a firm to develop an “engagement strategy” that will work for council, city staff and Calgarians in planning for the 2012 to 2014 budget.

Ald. Brian Pincott said this strategy should be more in-depth than past attempts.

“It needs to be more than just sort of focus-group panels,” said Pincott. “We need to find real ways to start looking at participatory budgeting.”

Pincott said the budget is merely a tool that executes the city’s strategic plan.

“You have a strategic vision that everybody buys into at the city, and then you have a budget, which is implementing what everybody is on board with,” he said.

Longtime citizen-engagement proponent, Peter Rishaug, co-founder of Civic Camp, said involving Calgarians could “streamline” the budget.

“I think that Calgarians have been asking for this for a number of years,” he said. “This is nothing new, it’s just reaching the point where we’re able to achieve it.”

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