Mapleton aiming to complete budget process by Nov. 28

MAPLETON – A timeline that would see the township’s 2024 to 2026 budget process completed by Nov. 28 was presented to council on Sept. 26.

A report from clerk Larry Wheeler indicates the process began on June 27 with a senior management meeting, at which the proposed timeline was discussed.

A proposed fees and charges schedule covering the 2024 to 2026 budget period was presented to council on Sept. 26 and residents will be invited to provide feedback on the schedule at the Oct. 10 meeting.

The report notes adoption of the 2023 budget, as well as the fees and charges bylaw, was delayed until Jan. 31 due to the need to await inauguration of two new council members following the 2022 municipal election on Oct. 26.

“Late adoption of the fees and charges bylaw results in lost revenue for the township, while late adoption of the capital budget may set back the tendering process and thus stall capital projects (increasing inflation risk),” the report states.

The report also points out community halls have been pre-booked for gathering resident feedback to draft changes to fees and charges and potential tax levy increases,

Changes to the budget schedule could result in halls being unavailable when needed.

“The purpose of this document … really it’s internal, is to keep senior staff on task so that we can all be on the same page and make the same deadlines,” Wheeler told council.

However, he added, “We are asking council to commit to two nights for public feedback.”

Public open houses on the proposed budget are slated for Nov. 6 at the Alma Community Centre and Nov. 7 at the Maryborough Community Centre in Moorefield.

“I like the like the whole idea of getting this done early,” said councillor Marlene Ottens.

“I’ve seen some other townships, especially after the election … they’re still budget talking in March/April.

“I like this to be done. I like our tenders to go out (with) everything approved, it’s a lot easier.”

Council accepted the report on the draft guidelines for the 2024 to 2026 budget process as information.

In recent years Mapleton has used a three-year budgeting process. However the 2023 budget was only a one-year projection because council was recently elected.