HURON COUNTY – The County of Huron’s 2023 budget planning process is underway. They want to hear what is important to county residents as they set their annual priorities.
The county uses its budget to ensure long-term sustainability while maintaining essential and valued services like municipal planning, regional roads, paramedic services, delivery of social services, homes for the aged, libraries, and museums.
A survey recently opened on the Huron County website seeking a picture of what is essential to its constituents.
“The County of Huron remains committed to providing fiscally responsible, quality services to residents and making Huron a safe, welcoming and affordable community,” said Michael Blumhagen, Huron County’s treasurer and director of corporate services. “I encourage residents to participate in the county’s 2023 budget survey and have their say”.
This five-question survey asks participants to share what Huron County service areas are the most priority to them as residents. The survey is open until Dec. 14. Huron County council will receive a report on survey engagement in their 2023 budget deliberations.
The survey can be found online at www.huroncountyconnects.ca/budget-2023.
As part of the annual budgeting process, all county departments draft and review their yearly budget estimates considering the strategic priorities set by county council. When council reviews the initial draft budget, it will also be made available to the community, who are encouraged to review and stay informed. After multiple reviews of the draft budget, council will consider and debate before final approval of the budget is made in early 2023.
Stay informed on the County of Huron’s 2023 budget process by visiting www.huroncountyconnects.ca/budget-2023.
What is an operating budget?
An operating budget covers the day-to-day expenses needed to support the operations and services being provided by county departments. Operating expenses include employee salary and benefits, insurance, utility costs, training, rent, childcare subsidies, and social assistance payments. Overall, salary and benefits represent approximately 46 per cent of the overall operating budget.
What is a capital budget?
A capital budget covers purchasing, replacing, or refurbishing its assets – infrastructure, facilities, and equipment. Assets include roads, bridges, culverts, facilities, long-term care homes, snow plows, and ambulances.
How does the county carry out its planning and budget exercises?
County departments will establish their annual budget estimates following the strategic priorities as established by county council. Once departments are complete, budgets are reviewed by senior management and presented to county council for their initial review, debate, and final approval.
A priority of council has been to engage the public in the county’s budget process to help inform and shape future strategic priorities.
What’s the difference between my local and upper-tier municipality (Huron County)?
The County of Huron currently operates in a two-tier structure, with the county and each local (lower tier) municipality as separate entities. The county and the local municipalities are responsible for delivering specific services within their geographical boundaries.
Local municipalities provide water and sewer, fire protection, bylaw enforcement, parks and recreation, and local roads and infrastructure.
The county provides more regional-based services such as EMS, long-term care, social services, public housing, and libraries.
In Huron County, county council is comprised of the head members of the lower tier municipalities.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times