The citizens of Revelstoke provided valuable input on operational and community priorities at a well-attended Town Hall Meeting last week, City Hall acknowledged in a news release.
The City also received public comment through the City’s online reporting tools, public consultation on specific programs, and contact directly with the Mayor and Councillors throughout the year.
Mayor Raven was quoted in the news statement as saying, “I am extremely pleased with the turn out and the valuable information that was presented. The information collected will be used in the deliberation process of the financial budget plan.”
The questions presented at the Town Hall meeting are to be addressed in a document included in the agenda for a Special Council meeting on Tuesday, January 21, starting at 3 pm. Council will deliberate on the comments and suggestions from the public in an effort to create a budget that addresses the wide range of services, programs and infrastructure that the citizens of Revelstoke need, want and use everyday. This meeting is open to the public
Members of the public are encouraged to provide the City with additional comment to be fully considered as part of the deliberation process.
“We go through this debate every year and each time we reach the perfect solution in the end; no one is really happy,” Councillor Steve Bender, who is chairman of the Finance Committee Chairman, said in the statement. “That’s the perfect solution in a democracy. It indicates the essence of democracy; compromise.”
The budget framework was set out in the 2014 Council Objectives which targets a balance of affordable taxes for property owners that includes weighing the diverse expectations and needs of residents, businesses, and visitors, together with reasonable user fees, while retaining core priority services for the general public, building reserves and setting the course for a vibrant, sustainable future.
Based on previous Focus Group recommendations and to ensure the timely and efficient management of programs and services, Council set an ambitious goal to have the 2014 budget approved well in advance of the mid May mandatory deadline.
The draft budget contains many key fiscal accomplishments including:
- No new long term general debt after 2014;
- No new long term water debt;
- No new long term sewer debt until 2017;
- Long term debt reducing overall;
- Debt (long term) to asset ratio trending lower;
- Reserves and surpluses increasing over time; and
- Operating expenses within 1% – 2% range per year.
Here are some key dates for the 2014-2018 budget planning process:
- July 2013
- Director of Finance directs staff to prepare a draft budget for their respective departments that includes Council priorities, limiting spending and building reserves.
- October 15 & 22, 2013
- Council considered service levels for the 2014 budget preparation.
- November 12, 2013
- A new ambitious timeline was set to have the budget approved earlier in the 2014 fiscal year.
- Special Meeting November 28, 2013
- The Director of Finance gave a presentation outlining the 2014-2018 Draft Financial Plan and the budget preparation directives to Council.
- November 26 – January 28, 2014
- Council deliberates comments and suggestions for the budget.
- December 10, 2013
- The Draft Financial Plan was released to the public for comment. “THAT the Financial Plan dated November 26, 2013 be received and presented for public review and comment.”
- January 14, 2014
- Non statutory Town Hall Meeting on 2014-2018 proposed Budget.
- January 21,
- Special Meeting to deliberate on public comments and suggestions.
- January 28, 2014
- Possible approval of the 2014-2018 Financial Budget.
- May 15, 2014
- 2014-2018 Financial Plan Bylaw adoption deadline.
- May 2014
- Property tax notices are mailed to property owners.
- July 2, 2014
- Deadline to pay property taxes.
- July 2014
- Staff begins to consider 2015-2019 Draft Financial Budget.