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Pembroke council sets schedule to tackle 2017 budget

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

(File photo)

(File photo)

Pembroke council will be tackling its 2017 budget during the last week of January, and the public is invited to watch.

The city’s finance and administration committee have scheduled meetings to review the 2017 capital and operating budgets for the general revenue fund, water and sewer, parking authority, Pembroke Public Library and the Pembroke Business Improvement Area on Jan. 24, 2017 and Jan. 26, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A third meeting on Feb. 1, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. has been scheduled if it is needed.

All meetings will be held in the council chambers at city hall and are open to the public.

The goal of these meetings is to finalize the budget so it can be formally approved at the Feb. 21, 2017 council meeting. This is in line with the practice of a number of local municipalities including the County of Renfrew, which finalizes its budget by the end of January of each year.

The idea of starting the city budget process earlier in the year was brought up during the 2013 budget deliberations, when a number of councillors expressed their concern and frustration over a process which was taking until mid-June to wrap up. Council also wanted to get a handle on the number of budget pre-approvals, which are capital projects approved before the budget is passed due to tight timelines and the short construction season. Council members often felt those spending plans hadn't been adequately debated before getting the go ahead.

City staff have stated the advantages of getting the budget done by the beginning of the year are that council will have a better idea of what resources it has on hand; will no longer need to pre-approve capital projects before the budget is finalized; no longer see delays in starting capital projects while waiting for the funds; and procurement can be spread over the course of the year, rather than done in a short time frame. 

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