The city is undergoing its budget process, as loyal readers of he Gazette will have noticed. It is a stressful time for both staff and councillors as they figure out how to make the upcoming year full, exciting, productive and accountable for the city.
At the budget workshop on Monday, department managers and staff presented their budgets to council, there to answer questions and take comments from both members of the public and council. It was plain to see, in every department managers are attempting to do more with less. Budget increases were quite small and were explained when asked. Every budget ask fell within the allowable increase, as determined by council policy.
The important thing to recognize is that our city cannot operate on a shoestring. For the tremendous services that our city provides, there is a cost. Most of those go unseen, and yet there they are. They are the types of services that we do not notice are being done, until they are not.
As Chief Administrative Officer Doug Allin has said several times through the budget process, it comes down to the level of service council wants to provide residents. Do we want a green, vibrant, clean and efficient city – or would we rather one with crumbling infrastructure, no bylaw support, and brown lawns? Being fiscally accountable is important, and the city is demonstrating that accountability to citizens. we need to give our city latitude to keep our community beautiful and healthy. As years go on, that’s likely going to cost a little more. So be it.