Council to get an early start on city budget

City council is getting an early start on budget planning this year

City council is getting an early start on budget planning this year.

That means council will tackle its second budget in one year.

The 2015 budget was hammered out during the last week of February this year because the new council didn’t take over until Dec. 2, 2014 and new councillors needed a chance to get their feet wet before delving into the budget.

This year, however, council is in a position to start earlier and has adopted a schedule that will see council meet three times in the second week of December.

Financial planning meetings are slated to take place at City Hall Monday, Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 9 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 to 3 p.m. as well as on Thursday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All meetings are open to the public.

At the same time, council also chose to replace its regular council meetings, scheduled for Dec. 7 and 21, with one council meeting on Dec. 14, starting at 6:30 p.m., in order to accommodate the financial plan meetings.

While council is getting to work on the budget earlier this year, this will not be the first time city council has been tasked with completing two financial plans in a single year.

In 2012, under former Mayor Walter Jakeway, council formed its 2012 budget in March of that year and, nine months later, in December, started on the 2013 budget.

It was Jakeway who advocated for the early start to budget planning in order to give city staff more time to implement the plan and for general managers to know what kind of budget they have to work with at the start of the year.