Over the past several months, we’ve been detailing the federal and provincial budgets and the impact on the local business community.
I’m a fan of understanding process, so now is a good time to start digging into the municipal budget, how it’s developed and when businesses and residents can weigh in.
The City of Peterborough has started its journey to developing the 2020 budget. Even though there have been a few public engagements held already, residents and business owners still have time to present their thoughts.
How do municipalities budget?
According to the City of Peterborough website, the budget process starts in the spring with the development of budget guidelines. These guidelines set out initial goals, including any anticipated tax increases and capital project parameters.
“Creating the City’s annual operating and capital budget is a big undertaking that involves our community, the delivery of services, maintenance of infrastructure, and ultimately City Council as your elected representatives,” said Councillor Dean Pappas, the City’s Finance Chair in a recent press release. “There are many ways for you to get involved, be engaged, and get the information that you want.”
Municipalities have relatively few mechanisms to raise the money required for operations and capital needs. Traditionally, the operating budget is funded by tax dollars and user fees, which include charges for recreation programs, water and sewers. Tax increases can also include an amount
designated for capital purchases.
The operating budget is the plan for the day-to-day operations. This includes salaries, materials and supplies.
The capital budget is the annual plan for the development, purchase and financing of capital assets such as infrastructure, lands, buildings, machinery and equipment.
So, what are some of the areas that the business community is keeping an eye on in the next municipal budget?
With the advice and feedback of our members we developed the Municipal Business Platform that outlines a number of key areas including:
Now some of these requests fall into the operations budget and others into capital projects.
What do you want the City to know from a business perspective as the budget guidelines are built?
Let us know. Contact Sandra Dueck, Policy Analyst at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also fill out the survey on the City’s website.
The 2019 time frame as released by the City in a recent press release:
Public engagement opportunities:
Thursday, April 25 (tonight) – Ward 3 Town public drop-in session, Peterborough Public Library, 345 Aylmer St. N. 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Monday, April 29 – Ward 5 Northcrest public drop-in session, Northcrest Community Centre, 100 Marina Blvd. 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, May 7 – Ward 4 Ashburnham public drop-in session, Peterborough Museum and Archives, 300 Hunter St. E. 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday, May 10 – Closing of public survey on budget priorities
Wednesday, May 22 – City Council, Finance Committee meeting to hear public delegations on the preliminary guidelines for the 2020 Budget development
Monday, June 24 – City Council to consider ratifying its Finance Committee’s decision on the guidelines for the creation of the 2020 Budget, opportunity for public delegations during the meeting
Wednesday, November 13 – Public meeting to hear from the community on the draft 2020 Budget
Monday, December 9 – Council considers final approval of the 2020 Budget, opportunity for public delegations
Budget document release and review by Finance Committee:
Monday, May 6 – City Council, Finance Committee meeting, presentation of preliminary guidelines for 2020 Budget development
Monday, June 10 – City Council, Finance Committee meeting to consider recommendations to approve guidelines for the creation of the 2020 Budget
Monday, October 28 – City Council, Finance Committee to receive draft 2020 Budget documents, which begins the official review of the draft documents
Monday, November 18 to Thursday, November 21 – Council holds Finance
Committee meetings each day to review and discuss the draft 2020 Budget documents