Community engagement a key focus for City of Belleville’s 2024 operating budget

Photo via City of Belleville

The City of Belleville released its 2024 Operating Budget timeline at a recent council meeting, which focused largely on community engagement and economic responsibility.

Working hand in hand with the City of Belleville’s Strategic Plan, the 2024 Operating Budget has been developed to cultivate management strategies, address deficits and shortcomings, and protect existing infrastructure, all while fostering growth for the future of the Friendly City.

The City’s Finance Committee prepared and presented a report to council last Tuesday, detailing a comprehensive timeline and budget plan starting now and continuing through to spring 2024.

The Strong Mayors powers will be the largest notable change in this year’s budget timeline. These powers mandate the mayor to provide a proposed budget to council by February 1 of each year. Failing to do so gives council the authority to prepare and adopt a budget, and the power to pass it. Quinteist published an in-depth article on the Strong Mayors powers previously, here.

Other provisions have been made to the 2024 Operating Budget to ensure transparency and balance. Amendments and vetoing can be utilized in 30-10-15 day deadlines. First, council can provide amendments to the 2024 Operating Budget within a 30-day deadline. Second, the mayor can veto the above amendments, in writing, within 10 days after the above 30-day period (in step one). Third, council can override the mayor’s veto by a vote with two-thirds in favour. This final step must be completed within 15 days of the expiry of the mayor’s veto, as described above.

Once the above deadlines have passed, the proposed 2024 Operating Budget is considered adopted by the City of Belleville and will not require a vote by council.

In addition, a thorough Communications Plan has also been developed to improve public engagement through the 2024 Operating Budget process. This plan includes two public surveys to gather responses from the community throughout the budget timeline and process. The surveys and Communications Plan are included in the 2024 Operating Budget timeline, outlined below.

  • 2024 Operating Budget timeline:
  • – Week of October 10, 2023: Council approves the public engagement and communication plan. Survey #1 is distributed to the public and closes during the week of November 6.
  • – Week of December 4, 2023: Survey #1 results presented to the Finance Committee, which will provide guidelines for the proposed budget. Departmental budget meetings will take place.
  • – December 11, 2023: Survey #1 findings are presented to council and receive endorsement on the proposed budget guidelines.
  • – Week of December 18, 2023: First working group meeting takes place, review draft submissions with EMT and the mayor.
  • – Week of January 22, 2024: Second working group meeting takes place, with EMT and the Finance Committee.
  • – Week of January 29, 2024: Operating budget draft posted publicly and provided to council. Survey #2 distributed to the public.
  • – February 29, 2024; & March 1, 2024: Special Council Meetings take place to discuss the presentations of Survey #2. Operating budget meeting deliberations take place. Council budget amendment period expires (amendments to be made by resolution).
  • – March 11, 2023: Mayor’s veto period expires, regarding council’s budget amendments (if applicable).
  • – March 26, 2023: Council’s ability to override the Mayor’s vote regarding council budget amendments (if applicable) expires. Tentative Special Council Meeting date.

The City of Belleville council approved this timeline and recommendations for the 2024 Operating Budget, presented by the Finance Committee, and is committed to creating an open, transparent, and inclusive budgeting process for the community.

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