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City wants help in budget

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Love it or hate it, budget season is around the corner once again.

In the coming months, Oshawa’s city councillors will be back in council chambers, deliberating the best way to make good use of taxpayers’ dollars.

And during the latest meeting of the city’s finance committee, when the tentative timetable for the budget process was approved, it was discussed whether the public should have more of a say in that process.

Councillor Dan Carter suggested that along with the budget deliberations, which offer an opportunity for the public to give their opinions after the draft budget is released, perhaps a public open house should be held before that.

“I think as a group, we’re really working diligently to hear from the public and I think it would assist through this process,” Carter says.

Carter says such a meeting would help council and staff to engage the public during what is generally a lengthy process.

Councillor Nancy Diamond saw an issue with a public meeting being held prior to the draft budget being given to the public as it would be hard for people to offer their opinions on a budget that hasn’t been made yet.

The possibility was put to staff for consideration, but it was hinted that such a meeting would not be happening during this year’s budget process.

Along with a public meeting, the city is also working on an online tool that will allow residents to create their own draft budget, allowing users to move dollars from different departments to give an idea of how certain spending will affect other areas of the city. It it slated to be in place for 2017.