The County has already started developing their budget for 2022 and they are now ready to seek citizen input with their online survey (see links below). This year they are providing an online interactive tool where you can see what happens if you increase or decrease spending or revenue in all the categories. The tool only allows an increase or decrease and not which aspect of specific services should be affected. For example, if you want less spending on tourism but just in Cobourg, you have to put that into a comment – although that’s easy to do. One thing that had to be explained to me (thanks Jennifer) was that Capital Projects are included in the relevant department. So if you want to comment about the Golden Plough project, that would be under Community Health, Long Term Care.
So the good news is:
- The budget process is well defined and clear (except for how Capital is funded) and has a public schedule
- Citizens are asked for feedback
- The impact of changing the budget on taxes is clear
- For anyone doing the survey, the County budget is clear (Operating only).
- The Tool provided allows anyone to see how taxes would be affected if any budget category is increased or decreased by 1 or 3%
In response to a question about the Capital budget, Glenn Dees, Director of Finance/Treasurer, said:
The tool focuses on County base service delivery as funded from the Levy (property tax), Grants and Subsidies and User Fees. The simulation is meant to be informational to Council on public priorities for core service delivery and; therefore, does not encompass some non-recurring extraordinary capital items that are already underway. Rather the focus is on the core base recurring services. Typically large non-recurring projects like the GPL Redevelopment and Elgin Park Redevelopment are financed from specific provincial funding programs, County reserves and debt as opposed to the revenue sources highlighted in the simulation for financing annual base operating and capital budgets.
The message from the County is:
The choices you make in the Budget Simulation Tool will help County Council make informed decisions about the allocation of tax dollars in the 2022 County Budget and over the long-term.
Last year, the County simply asked questions (online) of the public and got 374 responses – maybe the interactive tool will get a better response? Sure is a lot more fun.
In case the “tool” is not your thing, you can also provide feedback by leaving a comment in the “Comments” tab on this page – note that you need to first register OR
Email your comments or questions to Finance@northumberland.ca .
The deadline for feedback is 31 August – that’s when the survey closes as well.
- Northumberland County Budget Survey – County page with more about the budget process and schedule.
- Or go direct to the Interactive tool here
Previous related articles
- County Annual report – 24 July 2021
- County and Town Citizen Surveys – includes results of County survey of Budget priorities and satisfaction with services – 28 August 2020.