Revisions to Finance Committee Bylaw Requested
It’s back to the drawing board for the proposed finance committee bylaw.
The bylaw, that was first introduced at the Town of Vegreville’s Aug. 18 legislative committee meeting, was met with disappointment and criticism by some members of council.
Coun. Marielle Brodziak asked if the finance committee would be the budget committee and Town Manager Cliff Craig replied, yes. “That would change our budge process for sure,” stated Mayor Tim MacPhee.
Coun. Taneen Rudyk wondered if members of council would meet the duties and training requirements of committee members, especially in light of the fact they are getting close to starting the budget process.
MacPhee stated, “I would have to say I think it sort of misses the mark of what we’re putting together. We were trying to a get to a point where we would just have some oversight on some special projects and maybe have a little more input on the committee would make recommendations, go through quarterly reports, and where we are at budget-wise.
That’s the feeling I had going around the room. It’s getting a little more in-depth than what the bylaw is right now, and I’ll guarantee you no one in this room is going to sit back and miss a budget meeting or wait for recommendation of three members. And I understand it would be a little easier for senior administration to try to just convey the direction they feel and take it back to council. I, myself, would not be in favour of that type of budget process.”
Coun. Dave Berry said he agreed with MacPhee and echo his comments. “I think the budget process itself needs to be council as a whole. I think that’s where we discuss things back and forth as to individual priorities or what we feel our residents are looking for and looking for options as to how the money actually gets allocated out.
I also don’t think the intent is to try and make each councillor an accountant or a financial wizard. I think what we’re elected to do is to assess what is being brought before us. I agree with you, what we were looking for was better communication and feedback after the budget as to how the money is being spent and what is the status of projects. I think we are looking at things a little bit differently.”
Coun. Tina Warawa said, “Unfortunately, this was a little surprising because it isn’t at all what we were working on.” She said the idea was to have the ability to have a committee when we did projects that aren’t within our norm, one-off projects, special projects. “I just don’t feel like having our councillors step out of the budget process is right, especially when we’re all going to get calls from our residents on the decisions we make. I wouldn’t be in favour of it as it stands right now.”
MacPhee asked to have administration rework the bylaw and bring it back to council. The proposed bylaw was included in the Aug. 24 council meeting agenda package, but there was no discussion on it.