By Rhonda Massad
The battle of wills over the Pierrefonds-Roxboro 2015 budget brought about a split vote at the public meeting held Oct. 6 , leaving Mayor Jim Beis to break the tie and move the budget forward. Councillor Justine McIntyre (Bois de Liesse) and borough Councillor Roger Trottier (Bois de Liesse) voted against this year’s budget claiming insufficient time to study the final version.
According to McIntyre, after last year’s budget process she warned the city1 that she would not adopt another budget with similar time constraints.
McIntyre said she expressed disappointment that the additional million dollars being transferred from Montreal this year should have been passed on to the taxpayer. She had expressed this during earlier budget meetings and it was not applied to the final version.
“The most disappointing thing for me is that my input was not taken into account,” she said.
According to borough Mayor Jim Beis, the council had ample time to ask questions at a round table discussion following a presentation from each of the services department.
“We have, since the beginning of our mandate, been working with all our services to get all the information we need,” Beis told The Suburban. “Last month we had a presentation from each of our service directors, which we have never had before. The final budget was presented in summary form at that time. This was an initiative to make sure each director could present their individual budgets, after which time council had ample opportunity, through the proper channels, to get all the information we needed.”
Beis and McIntyre agreed that the detailed documents came out the Friday at noon before the Monday budget adoption.
“Council could have asked questions on the Monday at caucus,” Beis explained. “I get that with busy schedules it may not be enough time for everyone to go line by line but we also have qualified people that are creating our budgets, that we agree on, that are experts in their milieu.”
“In light of Monday night, we will likely do this differently next time around.” Beis continued, “Nothing stops us as an elected body to ask questions at whatever time we choose. I think it is important to respect the protocol of asking questions through proper channels. If all the elected officials were to ask questions directly to the services they would be bombarded and they have regular day-to-day work to do.”
According to Beis the day-to-day operation budget does not really change.
“We have fixed costs. The day-to-day expenses cannot be made up, they are fixed costs. Which makes up the bulk of the budget. I got the final detailed version at the same time as everyone else. I was comfortable with the budget or I would not have put my name on it.”