City publishes dates for budget process; public invited
City council and staff are now working out the details of Nelson’s $40-million budget for the coming year. The public can observe or get involved on any or all of the following dates.
February 4 and February 18
Day long meetings at city hall starting at 9 am.
Public open house at the library between 1pm and 4pm with presentation by chief financial officer Colin McClure at 7pm.
Council meeting at city hall to pass the financial plan with announcement of any property tax increases.
To get an idea of what a finalized city budget presentation looks like, click here for a view of last year’s.
Status quo is the goal, but three collective agreements unsigned
McClure says all city departments have been asked to submit status quo budgets; that is, without requesting any new projects or increases. This of course does not include current or upcoming wage increases in its contracts with four unions.
Wages and benefits make up about 75% of the city’s budget.
McClure said he is still faced with some guesswork because the city’s collective agreements with three unions are long expired. Contracts with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers (IBEW) expired in December of 2011, while the agreement with the Nelson Police Association expired on December 2012.
The city signed a new agreement with its largest union membership, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, in June of 2013.
The city has already decided on increases for sewer and water rates (which are billed in Nelson separately from property taxes) of 4% and sewage 3% respectively.
Related stories in The Nelson Daily:
City and CUPE agree on 5% over three years (June 13, 2013)
City budget: new money, new projects, uncertain wage settlements (April 11, 2013)
All four of Nelson labour contracts up for negotiation this year (March 14, 2013)