Chamber Seeks Transparency in Municipal Budget Process

The Brooks and District Chamber of Commerce has written an open letter to City of Brooks requesting that they share the City’s proposed 2018 budget with taxpayers before it is presented to Council in late December.

“Currently, ratepayers have no opportunity to comment on the proposed budget before it goes through three readings and is passed in one council meeting.” said the Chamber’s President Elect Sarah Bisbee. “This means businesses have no opportunity to provide feedback on specific line items that matter to them” she added.

This type of consultation is common elsewhere in Alberta. Large cities like Calgary, cities of similar size like Lacombe and even smaller centers like Bonneyvill all embrace this kind of transparency.

“Nobody likes a surprise when it comes to taxes” said Dr. Kyle R Franz, the Chamber’s Director of Member Relations. “That’s why it’s important that ratepayers have the chance to see the budget before it is passed by Council. We are excited to propose a partnership with the City on this important initiative."

The Brooks Chamber is working hard to ensure that Brooks and the Region of Newell is the best place to live, work, invest and raise a family. Transparency in municipal budgeting is a key part of retaining and attracting investment.

Media Contact:
Kyle R. Franz
Director of Member Relations
Membership@brookschamber.ab.ca / (403) 427-0011

Attachments: Open Letter to City Council, November 15, 2017

November 15, 2017

Mayor Barry Morishita
C/O The City of Brooks
Brooks, Alberta T1R 1B7

Re: 2018 City Budget

Your Worship Barry Morishita:

On behalf of the Brooks and District Chamber of Commerce, I am writing Council an open letter inviting the City to share their proposed 2018 budget with taxpayers before it is presented to Council.

While we applaud the City for its innovative Citizen Budget Tool, we caution Council that it is not a one-stop-shop for public input. It does not allow those with limited computer skills to have their voices heard. Equally important, it is a one-way street with information flowing to City Hall, but no ability for taxpayers to see the budget (or understand how it will affect their business) before it is presented to Council. This is problematic because it has historically been presented and passed at the same meeting.

As the voice of the business community, we feel strongly that a transparent budget process is part of a healthy democracy. We are therefore calling upon Council to hold a town hall meeting where ratepayers and members of the public can comment on the proposed budget before it makes its way to council. If you would like, The Chamber will make all the arrangements for this meeting, including providing an appropriate space and advertising.

The Brooks Chamber is working hard to ensure that Brooks and the Region of Newell is the best place to live, work, invest and raise a family. Transparency in municipal budgeting is a key part of retaining and attracting investment.

Please consider our request of Council. We very much value our working relationship with the City and look forward to hearing from Council on this proposal at the Council Meeting on Monday November 20, 2017.

Sincerely,

Michael Nordfjeld
President of the Board of Directors

Posted on:
Friday, November 17, 2017