Tomorrow the city's select committee on core review will receive a draft list of cost-saving recommendations from consultant group KPMG.
Several months of work - including five workshops with city management, staff and community members -will be rendered down into a list of potential action items.
Once the select committee -made up of Mayor Shari Green and councillors Frank Everitt, Albert Koehler and Cameron Stolz - has had the first glimpse of the list, it will be posted publicly on Friday.
On Oct. 2 residents will have a chance to voice their thoughts, concerns and questions about the list at a public workshop.
This workshop will be a key opportunity for residents to take part in the process -and to potentially save services important to them from the chopping block.
KPMG's recommendations are expected to be extensive and may include the kind of wholesale cuts to services and hikes in user fees seen in cities like Toronto.
To date over 2,650 people have participated in the public portion of the process of the core review process. That's a strong response for a municipal consultation in Prince George, but more is needed.
KPMG's list of recommendations is the pointy end of the core review process, and if the public is apathetic about it they're going to get cut.
The reality of any public consultation process is that special interest groups and vocal minorities tend to dominate. Unlike the oft-silent majority, members of these groups have strong opinions and make sure to express them loudly and as often as possible.
In Prince George there is a very noisy minority who are willing to cut every and any city service in order to keep taxes from rising.
This faction dominated the last municipal election, making fiscal restraint the top issue of discussion. Council cannot afford to ignore them because they vote - both at the ballot box and with dollars to support local election campaigns.
If the quiet majority -the people who enjoy walks in maintained city parks, affordable access to swimming pools and recreation facilities, a good public library, well-maintained roads, functional public transit, etc. - don't speak up now, they will find their interests overlooked.
It's much easier to stop a proposed cut or fee increase, then to try to reverse one which has already happened.
The city can not afford for the quiet majority to be apathetic about this process.
Prince George is not Toronto. People will continue to live, do business and visit Toronto because of its size, amenities and cultural offerings - even if city services are poor.
However, Prince George already struggles with a bad reputation as a crime-ridden, smelly, dirty city.
The city's bad reputation is such a problem it was the top challenge identified by businesses in a survey by the Prince George Chamber of Commerce last year.
Of the 118 local businesses surveyed, 17.6 per cent said the city's negative reputation was the biggest challenge to expanding business, while 15.9 per cent said attracting skilled workers was their top concern.
Municipal candidates should take note that there was a direct connection between improving local aesthetics, infrastructure and roads... [to] businesss ability to attract qualified employees to Prince George, then-chamber president Guarav Parmar said.
If the shortsighted minority which wants any city service that moves slashed is allowed to dominate the core service review process, than we'll soon become the most affordable, low-tax ghetto in Northern B.C.
On Friday, and at the Oct. 2 public workshop, it's time for the reasonable, moderate majority to drown out the clamorous minority -or forever hold its peace.
-- Associate news editor Arthur Williams