Public welcome to budget talks in upcoming weeks

By Katherine Svenkeson
November 15, 2016 - 6:22am Updated: November 15, 2016 - 1:41pm

The new North Battleford council and mayor held their first meeting on Nov. 14, after being sworn in just a week before and the city's budget is already at the forefront of conversation.

While the budget is not completely determined yet, council set dates for deliberations prior to the new year.

Mayor Ryan Bater said that the upcoming budget will be looking beyond just 2017.

“We know the budget is going to deal with our five-year capital plan,” Bater said. “We fund our capital projects in advance so when we’re talking about budget 2017, we’re really talking about capital projects that may happen in 2020. It’s really important that we look long term so we can make sure those major capital projects are funded.”

However he also said the present won’t be ignored.

“For the immediate year we want to ensure that city services that people expect here are being delivered and that will be part of the budget, what changes to services administration is recommending to council,” he said.

It’s over those three days of public deliberations that the council will to be able to make recommendations to the proposed budget and vote on those changes. Bater encouraged people to come out to the planning process.

“During those deliberations the public is more than welcome to join so it gives an opportunity for people living in the city to come and find out what’s in store for their city in the next 12 months,” he said.

Bater added locals can be as involved in the budget as they want to be.

“It’s really valuable for a councillor to hear from the public on these kinds of matters. It’s one of the single most important decisions one makes when they’re in elected office: approve spending for the entire upcoming year,” he said. “I encourage people to attend. I’d like to hear from people.

Bater added opinions from the public do carry weight and are taken into account during deliberations.

“It’s really up to the public to get involved if they want to come learn about the budget and talk to their councillors because we are all elected to represent them,” Bater said.

The dates for public deliberations will be Nov. 30, Dec. 5 and 7.

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