Budget time should be extra interesting this year in Golden, as a mix of experienced and new councillors take a look at the financial and service side of Golden.
Budgets will always be filled with pages upon pages of information that will not only influence the residents of the town in a personal way, but also at the volunteer and business levels.
Of course the most obvious thing many people will be looking at this year will be taxation levels. The only way for a local municipality to raise money is through taxes, and they have been under scrutiny since the byelection was held in 2012.
The cry at the time was that business taxes were too high, and did not make Golden a place where businesses could flourish.
Of course any time taxes are looked at, the question inevitably becomes, if a tax is cut what service goes a long with it?
Do you want less services in the town of Golden?
If that is the case, then cutting taxes would be easy. Though historically when cuts are made, it is the volunteer, culture, and youth groups that get hit the hardest. One only has to look at the federal government to see how, and where the cuts get made.
While covering council I have seen many hard working groups come forward and ask for help to complete or start projects around town. These groups could get a grant in aid from the town, and in many cases, that small amount of funding goes a long way into making the community stronger as a whole. But in a world of chopping and churning, there is no guarantee the money will still be there.
Pushes are also being made to opt out of environmental programs the town has been involved with. This choice is an interesting one because we seem to live in an area where many people try hard to be environmentally friendly.
If any cuts are made, which services do you think should be chopped, and what happens when cuts are made to services that people like? We saw last year a rise of angry voices when the transit system was removed from service.
Hundreds of people signed petitions to show their displeasure, but the hard reality was that it was too late in the penny counters’ eyes to bring it back. Something had to give, and the bus was the first to go. But what will be next?
I feel fortunate to be in a town that has been working to give people reasons to come to the area, while also having events that bringing out people from the community, and Area A, together. It is part of what makes a community whole. When attacks are made on the good parts of the town out of little more the a whimsical attack, then everyone loses in the long run. That is what should be looked at in a budget, how to keep moving your area forward while being fiscally responsible to everyone, and not just one group.