Finance Committee

Toward a “No More Surprises” County Finance Sub Committee!

Rick Conroy of the Wellington Times put out a column in late February calling for a Finance Committee of Council. As I read the column all I could say was “Amen!”. Frankly, watching Council’s annual budget deliberations makes my teeth ache. Now I will admit that part of this is because I spent about 25 years analyzing government budgets – and deciding whether to lend them money based on their balance sheets and income statements.

I find the line-by-line deliberations that Council endures are the perfect illustration of “Can’t see the forest for the trees!”.

We need a small committee that will knuckle down and create a more detailed study of our finances, will look at spending breakdowns for the last 10 years, identify trends among all the categories, look at forecasts for those categories and how they might change. Then we should be comparing ourselves to other communities and their spending; as well as their property tax mil rates. Then our budget should be “workshopped” with the rest of Council so that everyone is onside.

The Finance Department at Shire Hall did some terrific survey work using the “Have Your Say” website to gain a sense of people’s priorities. This was a great start. The Finance Subcommittee should make presentations to the Community so that all understand where we have been, where we are at and where we are going.

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