In the Loop Sault Association of RatepayersSunday, February 09, 2014 by: David Poluck
Let’s talk preliminary budget
It was only a short year ago that we were looking at the 2013 municipal budget.
This year changes were made to the timing of how the preliminary budget was sent to councilors as confidential information for a two-week period and then released to the public.
This is a good thing.
We now have two months to review the documentation and information that staff has provided.
This is a change over previous years and gives those that have an interest in municipal finances an opportunity to discuss not only amongst ourselves but gives us the time to work with our council representatives.
Some of the basic questions that will require answers as the review process works itself out are as follows.
1 What are the sustainable tax load limits per median income groups?
2 What is the average tax load per household?
3 Is it possible to establish tax limits before budget creation?
4 Can we standardize a budget format?
5 What are the rate curves trends over last ten years?
6 Do budget trends reflect rate curves trends?
7 Are there assessments of current and future revenue streams?
8. Is it possible to create a simple understandable budget summary for the average person?
Were you aware that all of the information is available on line?
The advancement in technology has made it easy for ratepayers to access the preliminary budget on line with the click of a button and to then network and share questions and information with each other.
It may surprise you that this budget stuff is not everybody’s cup of tea and from experience math was not my best subject and even though I own a business and have a fair understanding of basic book keeping I like most feel over my head when looking at a document of this magnitude.
Fortunately there are volunteers in the SSMAR Finance Group that just love the numbers, factoids and figures and just can’t wait to get together to go over this preliminary budget.
One of the great thing about knowing these volunteers is they can break down the information and explain it to those of us that tend to glaze over at the mere mention of fiscal expenditures.
Arrangements have been made for Tuesday February 11 from 7-9 upstairs at Fresco European Grill for the first get together of the Finance Group to sit and begin the review of this year’s budget.
I guarantee that even if you know nothing about book keeping or city budgeting you will come out of this gathering with a better understanding of the city fiscal process and make some new acquaintances at the same time.
If you have any questions you would like to ask or have any answers that you would like to contribute pop the Finance Group an E mail saultratepayers @hotmail.com