City moves towards multi-year budget plan

The city approved a multi-year budgeting policy on Wednesday that will see the end of annual operating budgets.

Policy marks the end of annual budgets

City council passed multi-year budgeting on Wednesday, marking the end of annual budgets. (CBC)

The city approved a multi-year budgeting policy on Wednesday that will see the end of annual operating budgets.

The decision to enact the new policy was passed by city council unanimously, with Mayor Don Iveson saying the change will allow council to be more efficient.

“I think multi-year budgeting is going to allow us to make better long-term decisions and get better value for money, engage the public more effectively – while still having the flexibility to make adjustments as situations emerge,” he said.

The plan is to roll out a three-year budget next year, which will extend into the next city council’s term. After a new council is elected and sits for a year, they will implement a new four-year budget.

Iveson said changes can still be made to the budget throughout the year, despite the fact that there will not be a new plan presented every December.

“Council is going to make annual adjustments,” Iveson said. “We often make adjustments during the year, as well when things emerge that we need to deal with, so I don’t think any of that is going to change.”

Chief Financial Officer Lorna Rosen said having a multi-year budget will allow councillors to focus less on planning for the budget and more on achieving other goals.

“It actually holds staff more accountable for planning further out,” Rosen said. “It allows you to focus more on program achievement.”

The city’s capital budget is already operating on a similar multi-year budget.

“This provides still multiple opportunities for the public to engage, it saves thousands of dollars we would spend annually that we could use in better ways elsewhere,” said Coun. Michael Walters. “It’s a good move for the city.”