Let the City of Hamilton budget process begin!

The City Clerk’s office released the dates of City Council’s first round of budget meetings this morning. They are:

This will confirm the following GIC Budget meetings have been scheduled in the Council Chambers, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm:
October 13 – GIC – Light Rail Transit
October 24 – GIC – Organizational Design (2:00 pm start)
October 27 – GIC – Operating Budget Workshop
November 1 and 2 – GIC – Capital Budget Workshops
November 17 – GIC – Operating Budget Workshop
December 1 and 8 – GIC Capital Budgets
December 2 and 9 – GIC Rate Budgets
December 13 – GIC 2012-2015 Strategic Plan (location to be determined)
December 16 – GIC Operating Budget Workshop

This round is going to be very interesting. The City is broke and we have a lot of bills to pay. Last year, Council “held the line” on taxes increases only after deferring numerous projects. This year, Council needs to find money to pay for the new McMaster downtown health sciences building (we’re paying to build it and then paying to lease it at significantly above market-rates from McMaster who will own it) , potentially the Velodrome, the additional funds for the Ivor Wynne Renovation, and likely increases to the police budget from the Police Services Board.

Tough decisions will need to be made and as much as Council loves deferral, there are not many projects that can be deferred at this time.

I’ll do my best to monitor and report on the process. However, I may focus my time on the public school board’s potential closures of important inner-city secondary schools.