Strategic Planning and the 2019 Budget Update
As the new council settles in, amongst the first orders of business are developing a strategic plan to guide our actions as a city for the next four years and updating the final year of the city’s multi-year budget. Much of this process will be guided by the discussions my colleagues and I had on doorsteps with Londoners leading up to October’s election. There will also be opportunity in both of these processes for residents to weigh in on the priorities for our city over the next couple of months.
The last strategic plan developed on four strategic areas of focus which included: Strengthening Our Community; Leading in Public Service; Growing our Economy; and Building a Sustainable City. We had over 1000 milestones embedded in the plan and, working together with the civic administration, we were able to achieve having 97.6% of those milestones identified as complete or on target by the end of the term.
The strategic plan was instrumental in helping set the priorities for the city’s first multi-year budget. By laying out our objectives for the term, up front, we were able to use that framework to keep our budget tightly aligned with the plan. This, in turn, helped us keep the average overall property tax increase limited to 2.9%, and the average residential property tax increase to just 1.7% over the four-year term. The multi-year budget also helped create stability and predictability for London businesses and was cited by Moody’s as an important factor in assigning its highest credit rating to the city.
So now it’s time to do it all again. The 2019 budget update was tabled on December 17thand reflects the final year of the 2016-2019 multi-year budget. As presented, the impact of this budget will be an overall increase of 2.7% for 2019. There will be a number of decisions to make including enhancements to ambulance services, bicycle lane maintenance and the London Children’s Museum, and we’ll be looking for your input. There will be a public information session at the BMO Centre (295 Rectory St) on Wednesday, January 9thfrom 6 pm to 8 pm as well as a public participation meeting at City Hall on Thursday, January 17that 4 pm. Council will approve the updated budget on February 12th.
I’d love to hear from you about your priorities for the budget and the strategic plan. Please write, tweet or call and let me know what’s important to you. You can find more information on the proposed 2019 budget update at: http://www.london.ca/budget