–from Tom Myrick
Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw
There appears to be a lot of controversy around the adoption of Bylaw 658, Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw. Here is my understanding of the sequence of events:
- Expenditures approved in the original 2016 Financial Plan have changed for various reasons. These changes appear to be centered on Protective Services and bringing formerly contracted services in-house. Please note that some of these expenditures are more than previously budgeted, but some are also less than previously budgeted.
- I am making the assumption that all expenditures not budgeted in the 2016 Financial Plan, that have already occurred, were approved by Council.
- The Community Charter states the following:
- “Expenditures may not be incurred unless they are provided for in the financial plan for the current year.”
- “The only exception to the rule that expenditures may only be made if they are in the financial plan is when expenditures are required to deal with an ‘emergency’ situation.”
- “The financial plan must then be amended as soon as possible afterwards to reflect the expenditures and funding sources for the expenditures.”
- “The Act does not define what constitutes an ‘emergency’.”
- Therefore, since these changes in expenditures have been approved by Council already, and there is no definition in the Community Charter of an “emergency”, Council can deem these changes in expenditures outside of the original Financial Plan as an “emergency”.
- According to the Charter, the financial plan must be amended as soon as possible in this case. Since Council has already approved these expenditure changes, common sense dictates that Council would be in fact be legally required to vote for this amendment.
Therefore, assuming that all of these changes in expenditures were previously approved by Council, I believe the correct process is being followed. I believe District Staff and Council may be guilty of a lack of planning when preparing the 2016 Financial Plan, as one would think that most of these expenses should have been anticipated in the original Financial Plan.
However the last time I checked poor planning was not illegal.