If you had $630 million to run our region what would you spend it on?
Would you choose to spend more on roads and rubbish or you would like to boost libraries, parks and playgrounds, but you must make the budget balance.
My proposed budget consultation process will ensure consultation throughout the entire budget-making process.
The first step will be for the Council to create an online tool to gain input about the region’s priorities for the budget.
I hear from residents all the time who want a greater say in the Council’s budget and they will get that chance sooner if I am elected.
Online they will be able to simulate allocating more money to services you would prefer, but just like at home, balancing the budget is not always as easy as it looks.
Their budgets will be allocated according to their own interests and values. That is the feedback Council desperately needs to formulate better budgets.
Residents will be able to see for themselves what effects spending changes in one area would have on the rest of the budget for delivering essential service and the region.
This will mean that residents are learning about the complexities and trade-offs that the Council must make while it also provides meaningful informed feedback.
The next step in the Budget process will be for Council to collate all the feedback and use it to help shape a draft budget.
The draft budget will then be released for community consultation.
Council will receive and consider budget submissions.
Council will also hear submissions at a special committee meeting.
The State Government as part of their Belcarra corruption busting reforms is currently considering making budget consultation part of Local Government law.
As with most logical and sensible processes for increasing transparency and accountability, I reckon the Council should have adopted budget consultation years ago without any need to be told too.