Getting 2025-26 budgets ready for the Mayor - her council colleagues didn't go along with her. The issue goes to Standing Committee next week

By Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2023



This one gets a little technical.  But the end result is very important.

This Council is learning to listen.  How long this lasts is another issue but  two Council members asked important questions about how future budgets would be prepared.

In the recommendation that came out of the Standing Committee meetings asking Council to endorse:

Directing the Chief Financial Officer to prepare the draft operating and capital budgets for 2025 and 2026 whereby the city’s portion of the overall property tax increase is not to exceed 3.99% of which approximately:

    • 2.99% is for city services; and
    • 1% is for city infrastructure renewal funding;
    • and that the draft budgets be provided to the Mayor in preparation of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget in each year

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman was prepared to have 2025 and 2026 budget council in the hands of the Mayor with no public input.

Ward 1 Councillor Galbraith followed Sharman on putting the motion before Council.

The next item required Council to waive the rules of procedure to get the item on the agenda.   That took place:  Councillors Sharman and Galbraith moved to allow motion memorandum 2025 and 2026 budget direction to be added and discussed at this meeting of the Special Counsel, November 28 2023.

The Clerk out the Motion up on the screen where the public could see the details and Mayor Meed Ward said: “I will open the floor for any questions. Go ahead. Counsellor Nisan: Could it not be sent the committee?

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan

Nisan wanted to know why the question related to the 2025 and 2026 budgets were being pushed at this point, adding “I thought it would be helpful in light of the considerable feedback that we heard from the community to deal with this at the same time as the budget.

“I am in your hands” said the Mayor.  It needs a two thirds vote to table it and to have the discussion in a holistic manner with the rest of our budget items so folks know what our roadmap is for 2025 and 2026 as we prepare the 2024 budget okay. I’m not seeing anything further, the questions have been answered. The motion is there. This is just the wave procedure. We’re not dealing with the item yet. So we need to waive procedure to get the item on the floor.

So put your hand up. Yes. If you want to talk about it and keep your hand down if you don’t want to talk about it. All right. I’m not seeing anything else. It does need two thirds to go ahead.

At that point Councillor Kearns said: “If this goes forward, then we’ll be addressing the motion which is to endorse the staff direction at the Special Council meeting having given no opportunity for the public to have input or delegate on this endorsement. Is that correct?

Mayor: “Yes, it was part of the agenda package that did go out. And it also responds to the 3000 plus folks and others that have asked for us to look at ways to reduce the tax increase. So it’s in direct response to the community input that we’ve heard throughout this process. If you wish it to be handled in a different way, then you wouldn’t support this.

Councillor Nissan: “I just want to suggest this go to committee next week and give the public more opportunity. And we have a lot we have a lot of things we have to respond to but I think this will be better off at committee.

Councillor Kearns?  “I just said I would try to do better and this doesn’t feel like me trying to do better so I’d like this to come to committee.

Sensing that she was going to lose this vote, Mayor Meed Ward decided to pull the item from the agenda which meant that the public would have a chance to comment during the first week of December.

Mayor: “All right, any further questions or comments? Alright, so in light of the feedback from committee and council, I withdraw the item and we will bring it through committee. One way or the other, it will come forward and we’ll deal with it when we deal with it. So we don’t have anything on the floor right now to speak to so you’re gonna have to save your comments. Unless you have questions for me related to the wave procedure while it’s been withdrawn, so just hang on.”

That was it.  Any discussion on the 2025 and 2026 budgets will be heard at a Standing Committee where the public will have an opportunity to delegate of they wish

Complex, confusing – most certainly but from time to time members of this Council do the right thing.

The agendas will be revised and the public will be heard.

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2 comments to Getting 2025-26 budgets ready for the Mayor – her council colleagues didn’t go along with her. The issue goes to Standing Committee next week

  • Grahame

    About time.

    • I just checked the December 4 meeting agenda and I don’t see this. Can someone please post a comment here if they see this coming up for discussion at a future council meeting?

      Editor’s Update. The matter of Council directing the Chief Financial Officer to prepare budget material for the 2025 and 2025 budgets will come at a January Council Committee of the While – which will give the public the time they need to prepare delegations.