Today's #365ofgoodWR reminds us to pay attention to our city's budget. City Resolution #22 from Brent Toderian says "when it’s budget time at City Hall, pay really close attention. It’s where the truth of your city’s aspirations is revealed. Insist that your political leaders show in detail how their spending decisions actually match the city vision they’ve approved in their plans." Brent has also said it this way "your city's aspirations aren't found in its vision. It's found in its budget." I couldn't agree more.
Over the years, I have sat on a number of committees and boards and talk often comes down to the vision statement. And I have seen some pretty impressive vision statements over the years. However, when talks turn to the budget, many of those ideals found in the vision statement are simply not reflected in the budget.
Now I'm not a numbers person at all and I understand that most of us do not find budgets very exciting. I mean, how many of us have even mustered up enough interest in our own financial situation to create and follow a budget? And now I'm asking you to follow the (much larger and more complicated) budget of an entire city? I get that. But, yes, I'm going to encourage you to do it still. There are many ways you can stay informed and get involved...and none of them require a degree in accounting!
You'll likely want to start with your municipality's website. For the City of Kitchener, they have a page called 2019 Budget. There, you'll find a number of links ranging in complexity from infographics to a more comprehensive look at the numbers in detail. Also, you can usually watch city council meetings online or television. And finally, you can simply email or meet with your Councillor to share what priorities you'd like to see reflected in the budget. This Fall, we'll start hearing more about the 2020 budget for each of our municipalities. Take a moment to learn a bit more about your city's budget and share your feedback with elected officials.