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City councillors debate budget processes over social media
A social media debate was sparked Tuesday, after a Winnipeg city councillor filed a motion to change the city’s current budget process for a different one in 2020.
Councillor Kevin Klein brought forward the motion citing unanswered questions since the 2019 budget was tabled nearly two months ago.
“I didn’t have access to any detail. I did not have supported documents. And that’s why I didn’t vote for that budget,” he said.
Klein said it’s time for a change in the city’s budget process.
He entered a motion Tuesday to council’s executive policy committee (EPC) to stop its multi-year budgeting process and use a zero-based budget approach in 2020.
The zero-based budget is a process that details every expense in each new period.
Klein said the current approach lacks clarity for some members.
“The way we do the budget right now for the last 15, 20 years has to be stopped today and introduce zero-based budgeting involving all members of council,” he said.
Councillor Janice Lukes said councilors outside of the EPC had little time to look at the financial breakdown of the budget.
She's also calling for a change.
“I have never gone line-by-line in the entire budget, even when I was on the EPC for two years, we never did that. It was very high level, so you really don’t know,” she said.
Klein’s motion for a zero-based budget process met some opposition on social media.
Finance chair Scott Gillingham, who was out of town during the EPC meeting, responded on Twitter in support of the city’s model.
Multiyear budgeting is considered best practice by Gov’t Financial Officers Association.— Scott Gillingham (@ScottGillingham) May 14, 2019
Council will still vote on the budget annually as required by Prov legislation.
The annual vote to adopt the budget will allow for amendments and adjustments as necessary.
He later added:
I believe I’ve worked hard over the past years to collaborate with all council colleagues. Effective city building by council on behalf of the citizens of Winnipeg only works if councillors operate in good faith.— Scott Gillingham (@ScottGillingham) May 14, 2019
CTV News requested a comment from Gillingham on Tuesday night and didn’t receive a response.
Klein said he spoke with Gillingham about entering the motion Tuesday morning and stands by his move.
“They meet before council meetings to decide what’s going on, my vote doesn’t really count and they get access to information I don’t. Is that operating in good faith,” he asked.
The next EPC meeting is scheduled for June 11 at 9 a.m.
- With files from CTV’s Jason Gaidola