It’s Budget Time Guelph.
There’s a lot of info regarding this budget season so I’ll post several links here for you:
Complete overview is HERE
To appear before council as a delegate click HERE
How does the City calculate property taxes info is HERE
Info on who assesses your property is HERE
February 25 – Proposed Capital Budget presentation
February 26 – Proposed Local Boards and Shared Services
March 5 – Proposed Operating Budget presentation
March 11 – Public delegation night
March 25 – Council deliberates and approves Operating and Capital budgets
March 31 – additional meeting for budget approvals if necessary
All meetings will begin at 6 p.m. and be held in Council Chambers, City Hall, 1 Carden Street.
I only just received the staff proposed 2015 Operating budget information yesterday. I’ve looked through it once, but will need to go through it many more times. The recommended increase from staff is at 3.05% and this includes strategic investments and service investments.
Many have told me since taking office not to worry too much about this first budget. That it’s a “carry-over” budget from the previous term. There is actually some truth in that. The budget cycle started in June 2014, with the election things are pushed forward till March 2015 allowing the new council to get a lay of the land and prepare for the work staff have done. I have reached out to many other mayors over the last month inquiring with them if they too felt that their first budget was a “carry-over” budget? All have agreed that it is. New mayors or councils have not even approved their strategic priorities or shared agenda’s yet. They’re waiting until after their first budget. Just like Guelph is.
I can understand this thinking. Much of it has to do with process. Many, including me have found things out only after taking office that is new information to them that was not known during the election, or in my case even known as a city councillor. Some have adopted past decisions that are coming home to roost now.
Personally, even with the above challenges, I still am up to the challenge of bringing in a budget for this community that is aligned to the average rate of inflation in Ontario from 2014. That is at 2.4%. I hope my colleagues around the horseshoe can help get us there too.
As I said during a speech this week to the development community, “during the election it’s all about “me”. But after the election, when you are now working with 12 other elected people, it’s no longer about “me”, it’s about “we”. And if we are to make things affordable to our community, it is only “we” that can make it happen.
So wish us luck. I know that there are 13 people who care deeply about this community and we have excellent staff that have worked hard to bring us their best recommendation for the 2015 operating budget.
I want to be a mayor that hits the YES button on budgets. I hope this budget is one of them.