City Speak

This week, Express reporter Erin Fawcett has asked Councillor Cindy Jefferies questions regarding the 2011 operating budget that was just passed by council.

How do you feel about the approval of the 2011 operating budget?

“Overall, I think the 2011 operating budget went well,” said Jefferies. “With council having input into the development of the budget guidelines our process has really improved.”

She added the guidelines give administration and all of the departments’ direction on developing their budgets.

“With the participation of council early in the process we now see our early discussion reflected in the budget when it is presented,” said Jefferies. “Administration and staff did a great job of delivering a budget that addressed our community needs and acknowledged our economic climate. Collectively, I think council approved a budget which reflects our community.”

She added the City opened the process a little bit by going through all the items council members wanted to debate, discuss or question and then it allowed for reconsideration of any of those items after council had been through the whole budget.

“This process enabled us to hear and understand what our colleagues were thinking about various items within the budget and make decisions in a broader context,” said Jefferies. “Our new council members participated vigorously in the discussion and debate – we covered a lot of ground. Compared to other budgets I have participated in we had more discussion on more of the recommendations – we worked well together.”

What were some of the highlights of the budget for you?

“I am very excited that we approved funding to clear snow from some of our trails next winter,” said Jefferies. “Many constituents have asked for this and it extends the use of our trails to year round.”

She added she is already looking forward to the discussions the new council will have in developing budget guidelines for the next budget.

“I think we are changing the way we work and we are spending some very valuable time talking about key topics and our desired direction,” said Jefferies. “It will be challenging and rewarding.”

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