Budget 2017 Chapter 1: Council targets infrastructure renewal, grant hopes
A responsible budget, providing funding for renewal of Town assets and maintaining your levels of services are a few of the top priorities in the Town of Golden’s proposed 2017-2021 budget.
Find out more about these items, the budget process and why community engagement is so important! Residents are encouraged to attend the 2017-2021 Financial Plan Open-House on Tuesday, January 17th
at the Seniors Centre from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
At the December 20th
Regular Open Council meeting, Mayor and Council passed the first reading of the proposed five-year financial plan.
Council is targeting a 6.5-per-cent budget increase for 2017. This increase will ensure that the municipality not only keeps up with inflation and maintains service levels, but also includes more money going into reserves for infrastructure renewal. With the federal government indicating large amounts of infrastructure grants arriving over the next several years, Council is determined to meet the financial contribution amounts required to take advantage of these opportunities while avoiding long term borrowing for as long as possible.
“We have a responsibility to renew our existing assets in the most fiscally responsible manner possible. This budget reflects that while also focusing on maintaining the existing services taxpayers expect,” says Mayor Ron Oszust. “Public consultation presents an opportunity for residents to voice concerns or recommendations to the Town prior to the budget being approved.”
Official budget planning started in August, 2016 at a staff level and in early September, 2016 it began to be debated by the Standing Committee of Finance (SCOF).
SCOF includes the Mayor and all members of Council and is the meeting format used for budget planning. It is set up to focus on the annual budget process, leaving Regular Open Council meetings for day-to-day, ongoing Town business.
After 25 hours in meetings to date, Council has now come up with its proposed five-year financial plan, understanding that it is the first year of the bylaw (2017) that is legally binding with the four following years being projections. The bylaw therefore serves as a roadmap for how money will be spent in the coming years.
First reading was given on December 20th
and now it is time for the community to provide constructive feedback on what is being proposed.
“Going forward, we must identify our infrastructure and service delivery needs while maintaining the public’s trust and confidence that their tax dollars are being spent wisely,” says Mayor Ron Oszust. “Doing so also means we need to contribute to our community’s well-being, through responsible taxation.”
The municipality uses an open house a forum to discuss the budget and the various services provided. Staff from all departments will be on hand to explain existing services, and upcoming projects. The event is a forum for face-to-face conversations about issues that are important to everyone.
“This is a chance for the community to learn about the different services Golden offers and what the Council’s direction is for 2017 and beyond, by asking questions and providing us feedback,” says CAO Jon Wilsgard.
Being a good citizen is about being involved! On January 17, Town Council and Staff encourage you to get involved and drop by the Seniors Centre between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The event is open to everyone and free to attend. Savoury snacks will also be provided!
Stay tuned for the next chapter of the Budget 2017 series. The Town of Golden is committed to bringing you the whole budget story throughout the public consultation process. Look for our weekly news releases in the local newspaper, on local radio and on our website, www.golden.ca. You can view the proposed financial plan by visiting the Departments section of our website and choosing Finance, in hard copy at Town Hall or by clicking HERE