GUELPH POLITICAST #98 – Tara Baker, City Treasurer

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… if math is a hobby, or you fetishize your calculator. Yes, the 2018 budget deliberations are about to start at city council, and to put you in a budgeting kind of mood, we go behind the curtain this week to see how the the ones and zeros add up before they make it to the council floor.

Occasionally on this podcast, we like to take you, the listener, on a behind the scenes tour of how certain sausage gets made at city hall. That is to say, how does something like, say, the City of Guelph budget go from a blank spreadsheet to a completed document brought forward to city council for advice and consent, and for the people of Guelph to offer feedback. Needless to say, it’s more complicated than you think…

Taking us on this immense responsibility on a yearly basis is the General Manager of Finance and City Treasurer, Tara Baker. She doesn’t do all the math, but she does direct it. She co-ordinates between her own staff, and the financial staff of all the various city departments, the managers of those departments, the senior city staff, and the mayor and council. By the time the budget gets to the regular public process in the fall, it’s already been in the works for the better part of a year. Almost from the moment the old budget process ends, the new one begins.

So on this week’s podcast, Baker takes us through that year of budgeting. How does the budget come together from the various demands, desires and responsibilities of all the city departments, to a coherent document that balances the wants and needs of all city departments together to make up the annual City of Guelph budget. When does council get their say? When do the people? What makes a new spending item a priority, and how does something end up in an expansion pack? And for a special trivia note, how will next year’s budget be affected by the 2018 municipal election?

It’s a very special Guelph Politicast this week as we finally answer the question: where do budgets come from?

The budget process begins at the end of the month. To learn important dates, and to keep up with all the latest developments, you can, well, follow Guelph Politico, but you can also visit the budget page of the City of Guelph website here.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday’s episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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