The Town of Golden’s five-year financial plan, a detailed budget that includes a five per cent increase, has spent a couple weeks in the public eye with almost no feedback to speak of.
“Is that good or bad?” wondered Mayor Ron Oszust, adding that he hopes the lack of commentary is a reflection of the public’s contentment.
The Town hosted a Budget Consultation open house at the Golden Civic Centre last week with modest attendance. Those who were there listened to the information, asked some technical questions, but staff and council heard little in the way of feedback.
The Town has put out budget books, which are a “snapshot of 2016’s proposed expenditures.” It clearly outlines what will happen this year, and how it relates to the residents, their taxes, and the services they receive.
They are available at Town Hall, and residents still have several opportunities to provide input if they so choose. There are multiple council or committee meetings where there is the opportunity to speak, or written comments may also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The budget book is really great, it has digestible information that explains exactly how your taxes relate to the services offered,” said Oszust. “Nobody has said to me that they would like to see less…I think that means they have some confidence in us, council and staff.”
There is lots on the go this year, including upgrades to the swimming pool and sewer system (both with significant grant funds), sidewalk replacement on Alexander Drive, and much more.
“Everything we’re doing here is standing on the shoulders of previous councils,” said Oszust.
“They laid all the foundation and set the direction as far as our asset management priorities go. We’re miles ahead of some other communities in that regard. So when funding opportunities come up, we’re ready to go, and we know what our priorities are.”
Ideally in the future, granting opportunities from provincial and federal governments will be more consistent. But with the Town being on top of condition assessments on facilities, it makes it easier to apply for grants when they do come up.
However, because these grants are never a certainty, the municipality is taking steps to financially prepare for the necessary infrastructure upgrades the town will need.
To learn more go to golden.ca, or pick up a budget book at Town Hall.