New budgeting process for county
By Chad Ingram
Oct. 4, 2016
There will be some changes in the way Haliburton County councillors pass the upcoming year’s budget, changes designed to give councillors more input.
During a Sept. 28 council meeting, treasurer Elaine Taylor gave a presentation outlining the process for the county’s 2017 budget.
This will be the first county budget that Taylor, who stepped into the job last year, is responsible for.
Taylor told councillors the budgeting process for 2017 had begun as of the end of August and that council budget talks will begin earlier than in the past. A preliminary budgetary meeting will take place in October, with councillors receiving a first draft of the budget in November.
“So people have lots of time to provide input as required,” Taylor said.
Council will receive a second draft of the budget in December, with approval slated for January.
There will also be some changes in the way each department budget is compiled.
“This year, I’ve asked everybody to zero-base their budget,” Taylor said.
Zero-based budgeting means building a budget from the ground up, where each line item must be explained or justified by the department head.
“We’re asking people to justify every expense that they have,” Taylor said, “not just, oh, I had that last year. We’re really trying to build a budget from the bottom up.”
Both new and historical costs will be scrutinized, the idea being to eliminate any wasteful spending and prevent across-the-board incremental cost increases.
Taylor said she’d also like to explore whether the county’s reserves should be held in investments and said she intends to create a long-term financial plan for the municipality.
The 2016 Haliburton County budget totalled approximately $21.1 million.