What budget information could look like

By Pepper Parr

July 3rd, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday the city released a document that set out how the 2025-26 budget would be presented. Along with that document were a number of templates that were used as examples of how data would be made public.

The templates were a good example of how information that can be understood will be presented to the public.  Set out below is an example of what information on the Fire department could be shown.

The data is shown is for the purposes of illustration only. These are templates that each department will use.

Sets out what the department does and the financial challenges it is meeting during the fiscal year.

This template sets out the fundamentals.

With this level of data people can ask questions that are focused on a specif cost.

 

The part of the budget where staff can expand on what has been presented.

 

KPI’s Key Performance Indicators – The public hasn’t see data like this about the fire department.

 

 

The thinking on budget/finance matters at this point is to dedicate a period of time during every Council meeting cycle (once a month) that will focus on budget issues.  Opening that up to the public would be very useful as well.  Let the public know that this is the occasion when people can send in their questions.

Did this improvement in the flow of information to the public come about because of the pressure from angry tax payers or was the change the result of new leadership within the Finance department?  Does it matter?   What does matter is that the people picking up the tab have an opportunity to comment when it matters.

Related news story:

The Mayor’s budget – a different look

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