Qs FROM CONSTITUENTS: ON BUDGET DELIBERATIONS
This blog series explores some of the questions I have been asked by Grey Highlands' constituents. This post reviews the questions asked of all candidates at the Eugenia All Candidates Meeting on Oct 1, 2022.
The following posts originated from questions from the Eugenia All Candidates Debate. The following are the question topics:
Grey Highlands has had increasing budgets every year. Last year was the largest budget in our history. Staff was never been given a hard ceiling for budget increases.
As a new Councilor, do you support a line by line budget review and not automatically approve all expenditures from the previous budget as a starting point?
Any Council member can review operating budget (or the previous years budget) and any line items can be "pulled", reviewed and evaluated as part of the current year budget deliberations. For example, (clearly a made-up example) let's say in 2016 Council approved a Full Time Clown, any Council Member can discuss this as part of the 2023 budget deliberations. In fact, the majority of Council can move to remove the Full Time Clown and the Operations Budget would be adjusted accordingly, but of course, then we would not have a clown! (Insert all Staff are Clowns jokes here.) ; - )
As Mayor, I would encourage any new Council Member to do just this, review the Operating Budget line-by-line; it is a great way to start your journey on understanding Grey Highlands and your job as Councillor. As a Councillor, I always reviewed the Budget in detail and will continue to in the role as Mayor.
And, as the Mayor, I will meet with all Council Members to ensure that everyone is receiving the information they need to make good decisions.
Would you support council dictating a budget ceiling increase to Municipal Staff?
No, during the budgetary process, Staff brings forth all of their, legislative and Council's (via direction to staff) needs, for example, septic system inspections or climate-mitigation projects or anything up and above the current service levels. As Council Members, we drive the strategic direction of Grey Highlands; we do not run the day-to-day operations, and; therefore, Council needs opportunities like The Budget to have insight into what is needed to run Grey Highlands.
It is then up to Council to determine what we should actually spend money on (or not).
IMHO, any other number is arbitrary.
Now, please remember, I pay taxes here, too. I don't want the number to be too high. I am living in these uncertain financial times, as well. But, municipal services cost money, and it must come from somewhere. So, I want to know what the list is; and work with Council on acceptable funding sources including the levey.
See all the questions I have been asked throughout the 2022 Campaign!