Council budget process underway, open houses to follow first reading

Submitted by Town of Morinville

Morinville – Town Council returned from Christmas break to tackle the 2014 Budget. Council previously approved an Interim Budget on Dec. 10, 2013, a process that allowed Council and Administration time to properly analyze the monies that will be needed to provide services to the community this year. Council spent 14 hours in two workshops working on budget last week, the first of many meetings and discussions on the road to passing the operating and capital budget for 2014.

“Council started the process in December with a Strategic Planning meeting that will help us to set our priorities for both 2014 and through to the end of our term,” said Mayor Lisa Holmes. “Those priorities will be essential to helping us build a budget that meets our current needs and takes our future plans and growth into account.”
Council is planning to receive a Draft 2014 Budget at the Feb. 11 Council meeting. Meeting. Should it receive First Reading, Council will hold two public open houses at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre to hear from the public as to their expectations on services and amenities. One open house is scheduled for Feb. 18 and a second is set for Feb. 19. Both will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Additionally, Council is proposing bringing the budget presentation to Heritage Lodge, Aspen House, the Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Morinville and even some local schools.

“As part of our Council’s commitment to transparency and increased public engagement, we are excited to be expanding the opportunities for the public to have input into this budget,” the Mayor said of taking the budget presentation outside the traditional public open houses. “We are planning for Budget 2014 to include a focus on service levels. We want to know in which areas we are succeeding and where further improvements are needed. Come out to an open house and let us know what is important to you.”

Following the Open Houses, Council will use public feedback to add or remove items from the Draft Budget as it gives the document Second and Third Readings in late February and early March.

While most communities pass their annual budget with a single resolution, Morinville is unique in treating its annual budget as a bylaw with three separate readings combined with open houses.

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