Early Budget Discussions Shape Morinville’s Financial Priorities for 2025

The roads in old town Morinville need significant upgrades. Motions by Councillor White were withdrawn when he learned old town is in the next five-year plan for road work, set to commence in 2026. – file photo

by Colin Smith

Development of the Town of Morinville 2025 budget moved forward at the Tuesday, June 25 council meeting, at which several council members put forward items they would like to see taken into account in its preparation.

The discussion followed up on a kick-off budget session during the May 14 council meeting.

At that meeting, Financial Services Manager Travis Nosko provided council with information about challenges and opportunities involved in putting together Budget 2005 and prompted council members to consider items they would like included or addressed early on.

Nosko reiterated that message at the June 25 meeting.

“The earlier council identifies projects, initiatives or service level changes the more time it allows for administration to complete research and due diligence, which in turn better prepares council for making budgetary decisions,” he stated.

Following the discussion, Council passed a motion by Councillor Maurice St. Denis aimed at increasing resident participation in the budget process by live-streaming the September 21 budget deliberations in venues such as the MLC, MCCC or Rendez-Vous Centre.

Councillor Jen Anheliger put forward motions directing administration to bring forward reports on increasing 2025 budget funding for FCSS complex cases and barrier-free child and youth programming.

Councillor Stephen Dafoe moved that administration be directed to examine council per diems and other line items (such as how many external meetings councillors attend and mileage allowances) to identify where reductions could be made to reflect what is actually being used.

“It’s to take a look at where we can roll back, and in conjunction with that, look at where we might need to increase,” he said.

All of these motions passed unanimously.

In addition, council dealt with budget-related motions put forward by Councillor Ray White through the notice of motion process.

White moved that council direct administration to “change the capital plan/budget by moving the replacement of the Infrastructure Services Building from 2027 to 2029. The savings that will result will be put into road and sidewalk rehabilitation.”

He also put forward three motions directing administration to change the capital plan/budget to include road and sidewalk rehabilitation along specific streets in old town Morinville in 2026.

Several council members were uneasy with this straight-out directive to administration to change the capital plan priorities without hearing their rationale and the implications of such a change.

There was a possibility of the motion being defeated – with the result that the subject could not be brought up again.

So, despite his position and that of Dafoe that administration should have provided information so that the motion could be discussed and voted on at the meeting, White agreed to amend the motion.

Council passed the amended motion directing administration to bring forward a report on the proposed replacement Infrastructure Services Building.

White withdrew his other motions when told that the old town Morinville area will be dealt with in the next five-year cycle of road and sidewalk rehabilitation, commencing in 2026.

Council also approved updates to its calendar. Two dedicated budget meetings in September were reduced to one, with the first draft of the 2025 budget to be presented to council at a full-day meeting on Saturday, September 21.

A dedicated budget meeting was added for October 15 to ensure there is enough time for council deliberations and direction to administration.

Residents can take part in the 2025 budget survey at engagemorinville.ca.

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