Council budget debates for 2015 are over.
After a combined 23 hours of debates, Thursday afternoon saw a great weight lifted off of councillors shoulders. It felt like a job well done as council managed to keep the tax hike at just 2.5%, $63 dollars more per average home per year.
One of the other biggest highlights from Thursday’s budget debate was the 1.3 million dollar approval to of the Flex Street plan to transform downtown Dundas street into pedestrian friendly zone (a.k.a. Dundas Place).
Continuing from more than a few council and committee meetings, finding space in the budget was hard, but finding it in this year’s budget was even harder. Mayor Matt Brown felt that Dundas Place was something that needed to happen this year. After some savvy thinking, Mayor Brown and his fellow politicians figured out how to get the money in time for this year’s budget.
“Those dollars were found in the difference between a project total cost and the actual cost, and the variance between. So if you will, surplus money.”.
In an unexpected twist of events, the meeting ended two hours early on Thursday. When talking to councillor Mo Salih, he was supremely impressed with council’s efforts to get everything done together, and power through to a shortened meeting.
“It’s great to see the level of work getting done here today, I mean we’re supposed to finish at 5 and we’re here at 3 o’clock and it shows that people are willing to move.”
Positive attitudes were contagious after the meeting ended. Mayor Brown had nothing but great things to say about his fellow politicians, who took in their first budget task as a new council.
“This council has demonstrated once again their ability to work together to get things done for London, To be focused on the task at hand, and to deliver a budget that will be viewed by the public throughout the month of February, and I anticipate will be ratified at the end of February.”
The final decision for approval will be made on February 26th to be exact. Only then will the metaphorical budget monkey accept the metaphorical budget banana and let council stress over something else.