Have we become too complacent with budget?

I read with some dismay the reporting of the special budget meeting of council on March 28. I did not attend that meeting, so I cannot comment on what was actually said. My concern is there seemed to be more time spent discussing the CCCTE than on the financial details of the staff report on the budget itself.

Staff reported 2017 revenue was up $964,000 from the 2017 budget, but we are only budgeting for an additional $129,000 in 2018. 2017 salaries were down $197,000 from 2017 budget, but we are budgeting $325,000 more in 2018. 2017 expenses were down $483,000 from the 2017 budget, but we are only budgeting $30,000 less.

Even if salaries and benefits have to go up five per cent in 2018, why was there no discussion about having over $1 million from extra revenue and lower spending in 2017?

Why not budget based on the performance from the previous year? What are the pressures in 2018 that would make us not budget based on better-than-predicted 2017 performance?

Nobody expects a zero-per-cent tax increase, but when detailed financial figures are disclosed and then not discussed publicly, one has to wonder if we are becoming too complacent with the budget process.

Jim Wynne


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