Tim Brody - Editor
The 2019 Municipal budget process is underway.
The first draft of the budget proposes residential tax increases of 1.7 per cent for the operating budget and 3.98 per cent for the capital budget if the Municipality were to do everything outlined in the draft document.
The next meeting in the 2019 Municipal budget process will be an open house, open to the public, to be held on January 9, at 5:30 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion.
For the public, it will be an opportunity to ask questions, find out more about individual items as well as learn more about the many factors and that go in to the budget process, such as uncontrollable costs the Municipality is mandated to pay.
For municipal managers, the open house will provide an opportunity to give the public a window into their world, and to share with them why they’re asking for the things they are in the budget.
For councillors, it will be an opportunity to both ask questions of managers and listen to the community.
Councillors, elected members of the public, have a tough job each and every budget cycle.
On the one hand, they need to look at maintaining what the community has (walking paths and trails, infrastructure such as roads, sewer and water lines, and municipal buildings such as the Recreation Centre and a wide variety of services such as snowplowing and day care – things the community needs and currently enjoys) and build for the future (things to keep people here and attract new people to the community - such as a community pool or a new recreation centre and arena, things people often discuss). All of these things cost money.
On the other hand, in a town with no large industry, such as the sawmill in Hudson which once was a major employer, they need to be mindful of the fact that residential taxes are ever increasing and many people are getting to their breaking point (when seniors who have lived here for much, or all, of their lives and helped build this community are saying they can’t afford to live here anymore, that should be cause for concern. Or when people with lower incomes say the same, that they can’t afford to live here either, again – this is something that should be strongly considered.
When all these factors are weighed together and I have by no means, hit upon all of them here – to say nothing of inflation! It will be crucial for council, municipal managers and the public to work together to ensure our community is the kind of place we all want to live, work and play - where businesses want to locate, where people wish to move to and where our children will want to return once they’ve completed their educations.
But it will take a willingness to work together to achieve that goal.
Can we do it?
Time will tell.