Chatham-Kent is budgeting for a better tomorrow

·3 min read

Chatham-Kent is budgeting for a better tomorrow.

While the budget is not currently available as of the time of writing, things are going to be a little bit different this year, according to Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire.

“There’s a couple of different things we’re going to try this year, given the restrictions on public meetings,” said Shropshire. “We will be tabling the budget, and that’ll be carried live on YourTV. It will be a comprehensive overview of the budget.”

Shropshire added council is also looking at having three separate Facebook live sessions that will provide opportunities for the community to ask direct questions, as they would in a public meeting. He also noted members of council and the administration team would continue to provide answers to people’s questions they have regarding the budget process.

“We are trying to find as many different ways as we can to ensure people have a solid understanding of what is happening with their budget and giving people an opportunity for input - we consider that pretty essential,” said Shropshire.

According to Mayor Darrin Canniff, he wants to make sure the public is engaged.

“We want to see more engagement than we have in the past,” said Canniff. “Typically the meetings that we have, the three or four meetings across Chatham-Kent, we’re talking 30 or 50 people show up. I expect a lot more people online. But as we proceed on, we will ensure the media is well informed of the budget to help us get the message out.”

The budget will be broken up into four steps.

Wednesday, Jan. 3 is the first night of the budget, beginning at 6 p.m. While the format will be an online council meeting, there will also be a broadcast available on YourTV and YourTV YouTube Channel.

The first night will include an information meeting to review issues facing council and administration’s recommendations. Public deputations for funding will be scheduled for this evening as well.

The second step is the online budget presentation and community consultations, which will take place on Jan. 19 at noon, Jan. 20 at 4 p.m. as well as Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. This will be online and will include a brief presentation, followed by answering questions and comments posed.

The third step is the budget committee meetings, which take place on Jan. 27, Jan. 28 and Feb. 2 from 6 to 10 p.m. While the format will be an online council meeting, there will also be a broadcast available on YourTV and YourTV YouTube Channel. Public participation is scheduled via written deputations.

The fourth and final step is the contingency budget committee meeting, which is if needed only. In the case these are required, they will be held on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4 from 6 to 10 p.m. While the format will be an online council meeting, there will also be a broadcast available on YourTV and YourTV YouTube Channel.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News