Rimbey’s town council made some changes to how the budget will be presented to the public this year prior to adoption.
Instead of holding one presentation session at the Peter Lougheed Community Centre, which is what has been done in the past, council will hold two presentations in council chambers.
The draft budget will be posted online on the town’s website as well as physically available to the public several days before council’s presentation so people aren’t struggling to understand, follow along and ask questions within minutes of seeing the numbers for the first time.
Mayor Rick Pankiw feels holding the sessions this way will prove more effective than what’s been done in the past, as he feels in the last four to five years budget is that last thing discussed at the meetings. “It’s become an open forum for everything but.”
“I think that limits it from becoming a free for all in the Lougheed Centre,” he added.
Council agreed with the new procedure to introduce the budget to the community although Coun. Paul Payson was concerned council chambers won’t be big enough for the number of people that could attend.
Deputy Mayor Jack Webb says if that occurs council will just have to choose another alternative date for the Peter Lougheed Community Centre to accommodate the crowd.
The set presentation dates are March 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. and March 21 from noon to 2 p.m.
Many individuals in the gallery of the Feb. 24 meeting weren’t happy with council’s change, saying some people in the community were resilient to change and they were concerned it meant less transparency from council.
However council members assured them there would still be paper handouts for people to follow along, PowerPoint presentations and the ability to ask questions.