You have $100 to spend at the grocery store. You could spend more, but you don’t want to because you have two other bills due this week. Maybe you’ll write down a list of things you need so you don’t forget the important things. Or, maybe you’ll look in the sale flyers to get more value for your dollar. Either way, you’re working within a budget. What decisions you make affect your plans for the rest of the week.
Although the municipal budget process is lengthier and more complicated than grocery shopping, the essence is the same. The budget is also a tool that gives staff guidance on where to focus energies. Council sets their priorities based on community needs and operational commitments, they form the budget around those priorities, and then staff use the budget to carry them out.
The municipal property tax rate is determined by dividing the money needed in the budget (minus money used from other sources like reserves) by the taxable assessment in the Municipality.