Thursday, November 19, 2009

Make a list, maybe check it twice, Mayor Jack and the council six are seeking your advice!

The prospect of a revised financial plan for Prince Rupert comes up again at the next council meeting; with the resolution having been given the obligatory three readings in weeks previous the process now comes the consultation phase.

Council is seeking advice and conversation with the citizens of Podunk, with time set aside at 7:00 at the November 23 rd council meeting to discuss the revisions to the budget and why they may be necessary.

In online documentation on the planned meeting, the city outlines how amending their five year plan is necessary with the unexpected receipt of title to the Watson Island site. As well, some other costs that were not contemplated in the original five year plan have now come up. Among the unexpected developments that will impact the budget are such things as security, environmental testing, waterline and dam maintenance and any necessary repairs which the city is now responsible for at the pulp mill site at Watson Island.

Unexpected increases in costs on some ongoing projects such as the 8th Avenue waterline replacement project and other road projects of the last year have also offered challenges to the original five year blue print. The November 23rd meeting will allow Council to hear some feedback from the community as they prepare to as they put it, fine tune the revenue and expenditure forecasts.

While the documents provided on line are helpful, and no doubt send chills up and down the spines of accountants and bean counters everywhere, it is what it is, a dry financial accounting of numbers with enough volume to have the average citizens eyes roll back in their head after about page three. The residents of the city really shouldn't require CGA accreditation to gain a bit of background on what's going on and what needs to be done about it.

What is really needed for the home audience before that November 23rd meeting is a comprehensive explanation of all these things in easily understood terms, how item A is to have an impact on topic B, what the cost is going to be, where the money is going to come from and what other options may be available, when it comes to the new costs of the pulp mill and the other everyday operations of the city that have now changed in the five year plan.
That way the folks inclined to offer commentary can have a better understanding of the issues and what options are available to them, other than just adding increases to the tax rolls.

If they have something to work with, other than a chowder mix of financial statistics without any direct options, then they may be able to ask some interesting questions of our council members as to what financial direction the city is heading towards in the upcoming year, providing them with feedback that perhaps they need to hear.

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