Municipal Budgeting 101
The Municipal budget determines how much money the Municipality will bring in and spend within a year. It determines the level of service provided to East Hants residents and guides decisions on spending.
Municipal staff begin working on the budgets over the fall months where each department reviews activities and plans for the year ahead. Municipal staff consider many factors while planning their budgets, including:
- The past year’s actual spending and if there is a need to adjust the operational budget
- Any new projects that require financing
- Potential new staffing requirements
- New equipment like trucks, computers, phones, tools, etc.
Managers and senior staff adjust their budgets according to the Municipality of East Hants’ financial health, debt, reserve funds and as per the Council Strategic Plan.
Departments then submit their preliminary budgets to Finance staff who compile and review the budgets and plans, make suggestions and edits accordingly.
The Finance staff compiles an electronic document which is distributed to Council and senior staff. During Council budget meetings, Council reviews the budget and ensures that it matches Council priorities. Amendments are made by Council to add, delete or amend the proposed budget. The final budget is then approved at the next Council meeting. Once approved the tax rates are set and communicated.
Balancing the Budget
The Municipality is required by provincial law to balance its operating budget each year. To balance the budget, the Municipality can either:
- Increase its revenue stream through raised property taxes and fees; or
- Manage expenses through adapting or reducing the cost of programs and services
Simply put, the money raised must balance the money spent.