Town council adopted the Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw last Tuesday. Every year, by law, local governments must prepare this bylaw, which outlines revenues and expenses from the current year and the next four years. The first reading of the bylaw was given in the middle of January.
The plan also represents the Corporate Work Plan (projects the Town will work on in the next year like the community broadband network and the installation of a Green Gym), which is directed by the Town’s Strategic Plan.
“The adoption of this bylaw basically gives the Town permission to go ahead with these projects,” said David Allen, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Golden.
Projects that are starting this spring and summer include launching the new Community Bike Share program, blasting graffiti off the CPR bridge and installing new visitors signs around town and throughout the Rotary trail systems.
On the financial side of things, this year’s bylaw includes a general tax increase of 3.4 per cent. The Town has not implemented a property tax increase since 2007 and Allen said the public seemed to understand the necessity of the increase during the last two months when they had the opportunity to give the Town input.
“The new budget reflects council’s strategic priorities,” said Mayor Benty after the first reading of the bylaw in January. “It is what we believe we can accomplish this year. Our priorities focused on balancing environmental, economic and social/cultural responsibility.”
Something new to the budget this year, explained Mayor Benty, is the one half percent of the tax increase that is going toward our depreciating capital assets. It is a minimal amount, she said, but a start in the right direction.
Town council and staff are also excited about a new system of tracking progress on the Corporate Work Plan. This specific intranet site, which was developed last year by the IT and Management teams and launched this spring, allows staff to track the time they work on a specific project. Staff will now report to council quarterly instead of yearly, which, according to David Love, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, will allow the Town to adjust projects “mid-stream” and before it’s too late.
“It’s very cutting edge,” said Allen.
“It quantifies in real time what we’re doing and what we intend to do. When things go sideways, it gives council a choice of what they want to do.”
Love and Allen believe it will give the Town a greater transparency so the public can see how specific projects are going.