UXBRIDGE: Deliberations continued on this year’s municipal operating and capital budget last week, although Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor was displeased with continued low attendance from the community at recent budget meetings.
Unlike in past years, councillors have scheduled budget meetings in the afternoon as well as in the evening, in the hopes of attracting more public participation in the process in the wake of great debate over tax rates during the municipal election last fall. However, despite these measures, attendance has remained low at budget meetings, with the audience limited to a small handful of regular attendees.
“We’ve done our best to encourage input and only a select few have taken the time to do anything to be involved,” commented Mayor O’Connor. “It’s easy to criticize, point fingers and send e-mails saying ‘council’s stupid’ and ‘you people don’t know what you’re doing.’ But, they’re not here to understand the process and see what we’re going through with the budget.”
Budget meetings will resume on Friday, Jan. 23, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., after councillors opted to cancel a meeting slated for Thursday, Jan. 22.
Finance Committee Chair Pat Molloy urged his fellow councillors to take time this week to meet with municipal department heads in the hopes of further whittling down the budget.
“We’re getting down to nickels and diems here,” said Ward 2 Councillor Molloy. “It’d be great if you can meet with your department heads and look at where you can find some additional savings.”
A municipal budget open house has been scheduled at Town Hall (51 Toronto St. South) from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29, prior to that evening council meeting.
The municipal budget is expected to receive final approval from councillors in early February.