Budget planning at the Strathcona Regional District could be more streamlined next year after a director requested that an additional opportunity be added to make “meaningful and substantive input” after assessment data is available.
Cortes Island Director Noba Anderson made the notice of motion at the April 13 board meeting. Over the past two budget cycles, Anderson has asked to be able to give more substantive input on the budget. She voted against the 2021 financial plan, at the time saying that “there’s just no way I have the information I need. I have in previous years really prided myself on going through the detail multiple times and speaking with staff, but I just have nothing to work with here.”
The motion would be to include “at least one opportunity for the Board to make meaningful and substantive input to the budget after the tax assessment data is available… and before staff deem it too late in the process for such input.”
Tax assessment data is available in January every year. The SRD’s budget must be ready by March 31.
Area D director Brenda Leigh questioned the need for the motion, saying that she thought the process went “very well” this year and that she felt adequately consulted for Area D.
“We have very little time after the new year to slot in new numbers for our budgets,” she said. “Directors need to be quicker to get their inputs in as quick as they can.”
Quadra Island director Jim Abram agreed that this year’s process went well, but he acknowledged there were requests from directors to do things differently.
“I don’t think this is a very big deal,” Abram said. “We’ll still have plenty of time… it would be a positive addition to the budget process.”
Regional District staff will be taking the direction and using it while they plan the draft budget calendar. The calendar will be brought to the board for approval in a future meeting.