Jan. 25, 2019
by Colin Smith
An initiative by Councillor Stephen Dafoe for Morinville Council to have a series of meetings to evaluate services provided by the Town has been referred to a meeting in February.
At its January 22 meeting Dafoe moved, “That Council undertake a series of meetings prior to administration developing the 2020 budget that look at what services we provide the community which are essential under the Municipal Government Act, and which we believe are deemed essential by the community and which may be considered for reduction or elimination.”
“As we head into the 2020 budget I want Council to fully understand, and administration as well on this, a laundry list of the services we provide,” he said in support of the motion. “What our ability is to analyze, say for example grass cutting, what does that cost in a budgetary situation.”
Dafoe raised the concept of priority budgeting, with certain municipal services being required by legislation, some that Council feels are essential and others that residents simply like to have.
He said that meetings to look over these services would better prepare Council to go into the next budget process.
“As we ‘re looking to control deficits and we’re looking to provide good value for the dollar and at the same time controlling the cost of living that goes up,” Dafoe said.
In response to a question from Councillor Nicole Boutestein, Chief Administrative Officer Stephane Labonne indicated that administration would be hard put to find the resources to provide the information for such meetings.
“This is going to be a very difficult undertaking us,” Labonne said, considering the other major undertakings currently under way including development of a long-range financial plan, the fire-rescue plan and the rolling out of the rec centre.
“We have to put on a full-court press to get the rec centre up and running,” he said.
Mayor Barry Turner stated that at this time there is no budget for a comprehensive look at programs.
He argued that consideration of such a review should be included in the strategic plan now being developed, and made a motion to refer it to Council’s Feburary Committee of the Whole meeting at which that will be discussed.
The referral motion was passed 4-3 with Councillors Dafoe, Giffen and Richardson opposed to deferring the discussion.