Budget deliberations have officially begun.
The budget committee met for the first time on Monday at city hall prior to the executive committee meeting. Councillors spent a lot of time asking questions in response to the presentations of department business plans. The meeting was the first of four in the operating budget approval process.
Budget committee voted for the city clerk to hold the minutes of all budget committee meetings and place them on a regular council agenda after all decisions relating to the 2013 operating budget have been made. The process will be the same for the 2013 capital budget.
“We’ve presented the budget at council. We’ve had a full-page ad in the newspaper in terms of the budget. It’s on our website,” said Brian Acker, director of financial services. “We invite individuals to provide input to us via emails or there’s a budget phone line you can phone or phone me directly.”
He said at the scheduled meeting on Feb. 11, public input on the budget would be presented to the committee.
“Right now we haven’t gotten a lot of input to date,” said Acker. “We’re hoping we’re going to get a little bit more input than we have. There’s certainly a bit of time yet.”
City clerk-solicitor Myron Gulka-Tiechko said the department is requesting an 8.7 per cent funding increase, largely to implement the live streaming of council meetings.
He said in fall 2012, the city formalized its relationship with Shaw Cable so that Shaw would provide a video feed to the city to be streamed online on the city’s website free of charge through an external provider contracted by the city. The approximate cost of the web-hosting site through the external provider is $10,000 annually.
For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.