The following letter is a response to the column Conservative Views: Whose Budget is it Anyway? published Mar. 13 online and in print Mar. 19.
I understand that the column “Conservative Views” is an opinion piece and reflects the sole opinion of the writer. However, I would like to offer clarification to your readers on one item in this piece that is factually incorrect.
The following statement was included in the opinion piece: “But they failed to get that “line by line” review of the town’s finances on which many of them won votes last October. One wonders that if Council had been given access to the detailed accounts, they might not have doubled the operational review budget and shortened its timeframe.”
Through the months of January and February 2014, Council spent approximately 35 hours in scheduled Budget workshops with our CAO and the senior Administrative Team. Together we went through every department’s detailed budget line by line and offered comments and suggestions on changes, reductions and priorities. If an individual Councillor felt that there was further discussion needed in any area, they had the ability to bring that forward as an amendment during any of the three readings of the Budget during public Council meetings. That was evident by the large number of amendments made to the Budget at all three of our Council meetings.
Our Council is committed to having an open and transparent budget process. In addition to our 35 hours of budget workshops and time spent discussing the budget during our public Council meetings, we had 8 hours of public consultations with our Budget Open Houses and presentations at Heritage Lodge, the Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce meetings. We also accepted input through social media, email and an online budget survey.
A budget should not be viewed as “Administration’s” or “Council’s” as the article inferred. It should be the Community’s budget – with requests and recommendations from Administration and input from the public through Council. As with anything, there is always room for improvement and I welcome any comments or suggestions on how we can revise the current budget process by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor, Town of Morinville