The City of Penticton is delving more in-depth this year to prepare for its upcoming budget deliberations.
City council heard from the city’s CFO, Jim Bauer, this about the 2019-2023 five-year financial plan, which encompasses the 2019 budget. Bauer noted that starting this year, each department within the city will establish an annual business plan to better inform the budget deliberations.
“Every department is going to be preparing a business plan, and those documents are going to be published and available for council,” said Bauer. “The intention behind this is to focus on what we are trying to achieve, really laying out our priorities and initiatives for each department, and then turning to the resources needed to make that happen, which is contained within the financial plan.”
This process is already underway and the department planning and budget documents will be available on the City of Penticton website on Feb. 14. The draft budget will also be available to the public on this date.
“The development of these business plans and the publishing and providing visibility of those is absolutely critical in our eyes in regards to bringing greater public accountability to the city,” said Bauer.
At the next regular council meeting on Feb. 19, city staff will provide a primer of these business plans and the upcoming budget documents to city council, as well as information on how to navigate the material. Then they’ll take it to the community with engagement sessions to collect feedback.
The first session, on Feb. 20, is at the Seniors Drop-in Centre from 10 a.m. to noon and the second, on Feb. 21, takes place at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre from 4 to 7 p.m. For those unable to attend the sessions, feedback can also be provided at www.shapeyourcitypenticton.ca.
“We encourage the community to come out and learn more about what is in the city’s proposed plans for 2019 and provide their feedback,” said Bauer.
Once feedback has been collected, city council gets down to work in special meetings for budget deliberations Feb. 26 to 28. The public will also have an opportunity to provide comments about the proposed budget and business plans.
“We will also have a question and answer period at the end of each day, so if questions arise from the media or the public, they will have the chance to ask questions,” said Bauer.
On March 19, council is expected to give first, second and third reading to the 2019 budget and then on April 2, it will be adopted.
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