Monday, March 24, 2014 (Halifax, NS) – HRM’s Chief Administrative Officer Richard Butts will present the proposed 2014-15 operating and project budgets at Committee of the Whole on Wednesday, March 26.
One of the over-arching goals heading into this year’s budget process was a desire to ensure HRM citizens were engaged and had a strong voice in the construction of the 2014-15 budgets.
With that in mind, last fall Regional Council approved several initiatives to allow citizens to participate in a meaningful way in shaping these financial documents.
The citizen engagement initiatives included public discussions during the Community Councils, an online budget tool, and a public comment session at the end of every Committee of the Whole budget presentation.
It was critical to have a three-prong approach to the community engagement aspect of budget preparations because Regional Council wanted to ensure everyone had the ability to reach out. The approach also ensured citizens could remain engaged through the various stages of budget preparations.
The online budget allocator appealed to those with computer access who wanted to provide input early in the process. The public meetings at the Community Council level allowed for more direct dialogue. And the public comment sessions at the end of each Committee of the Whole budget session provided an opportunity for people to provide their perspective and advice as budget details became more specific.
This year was also unique in that all our Regional Councillors were directly involved in the vetting of the budgets through nine Committee of the Whole meetings. Previously, only those councillors who sat on the Audit and Finance Standing Committee had a direct vetting power of the budgets before they were sent to Regional Council for final approval.
Presentation of the proposed budgets is scheduled to begin on Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Council Chamber, and the meeting deliberations can be viewed live at www.halifax.ca/council/live/video.html.
For electronic copies of the proposed 2014-15 budgets, visit www.halifax.ca/budget.