Financial Management – Q&A
Q – CR is facing increasing pressure to maintain service levels and base operations while striving to meet community growing needs and keeping tax increases low. What would be your approach to tackling this issue?
A – Everyone expects to pay some taxes. Residents want to know is what they pay in taxes fair and are they receiving value for tax dollars?
We are facing some Big Rocks such as inflation, and labour contracts beyond our control.
As Mayor here is what I would do.
- Prioritize financial planning with Council and staff through strategic planning. Set aside special budget meetings of Council in open session when appropriate.
- Evaluate on per capita spending comparing previous years. Make sure that budgets are aligned with growth.
- Review base budget by department to be sure that expenditures are required and making sure the what and the why are explained and assumptions challenged.
- Ensure that service levels are appropriate.
- Prioritize budget on must do, should do, nice to do.
Recommend we conduct a fee review to ensure fees collected are appropriate. Compare costs to revenues using a business case approach by cost center.
Recommend reducing the number of priority projects undertaken to reduce workloads to attainable levels. And that other projects on the priority list be shovel ready to take advantage of grant opportunities
Recommend Council review contributions collected for the regional district to ensure taxation is equitable.
Assign 2 councillors to pursue alternate non- taxation revenue via a community forest in partnership with 1st Nations.
Create a public task force to identify and evaluate ideas to generate alternate revenues and explore other innovative and creative ideas for generating non- tax revenue such as a resource revenue sharing agreement with the province. Assign 2 councillors to participate and report to Council.
Report out regularly to the constituents on value for tax dollars spent.
– Charlie Cornfield