Chianello: A better budget, a better budget process

Seriously? “Consider that most councillors were stunned to discover at a recent transportation meeting that the cycling infrastructure was not included in that department’s budget, even though the cycling program was already approved as part of the transportation master plan. Instead, cycling is to be funded through a so-called “strategic initiative” pot of money that councillors will battle over later this year. “

Ottawa Citizen

A survey.

That was the most contentious, most discussed issue at Wednesday’s special council meeting where our elected officials unanimously approved a $3-billion budget and two per cent tax hike for residents. Debate about the survey overshadowed all other issues: rising transit fares, the serious concerns over the lack of record-keeping on student immunization levels, the $400,000 going to Crime Prevention Ottawa for a gang “exit strategy.”

It’s hard to say exactly why first-time Coun. Riley Brockington’s motion ended up being so fractious. It called for staff to survey councillors about “all aspects of the 2015 budget process” and to bring back the answers as part of the 2016 budget directions. The motion didn’t specify the survey questions, but Brockington indicated that he’d like some basic feedback on whether councillors felt they had enough information on the budget, or whether the budget was displayed in a way that was understandable.

Pretty straightforward, right? Wrong.

The motion started…

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