Sean MacDougall

Winter is in full swing and across the land all three levels of government are in pre-budget mode. That means having public meetings to discuss what residents would like to see on the list of priorities for their respective municipalities.

The province has been holding pre-budget consultations across the province for much of the same thing. The federal government is most likely in a similar mode leading up to the presentation of the budget in the House of Commons.

So, why pay much attention to the process? Attempts to make sense of what is in the budgets can create a painful headache but these consultations, especially on a municipal level, put some power back into the public’s hands.

Under the Municipal Government Act, a council must have at least one public meeting before they release their annual financial plan, which must be released on or before March 31.

These meetings allow residents the chance to voice what they want to see happen in their communities. It allows their voices to be heard by their elected officials about how to properly spend tax dollars.

While budgets and numbers can be a dry topic to discuss, it is still profoundly important to participate. We must ensure our voices are heard when it comes to the direction of government’s budgets and where funds are spent.

Sean MacDougall

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