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Mark Felix presents budget consultation to Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce

Mark Felix, chair of the Town of Stephenville’s finance committee, made a presentation on the town’s budget consultations to the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.
Mark Felix, chair of the Town of Stephenville’s finance committee, made a presentation on the town’s budget consultations to the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. - Frank Gale

Rebecca Snook of Stephenville really liked the survey the Town of Stephenville has online relating to its budget consultations.

“It’s very concise and clear, very well put, right on point and easy to read,” she said following a presentation on the budget consultations by Mark Felix, chair of the town’s finance committee at the monthly general meeting of the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

She said the whole proposal of doing the survey was appealing to her.

“When you see a group like the town council open up to allow visibility and the input of citizens it shows they’re committed to its people and how it spends its money,” Snook said.

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Don Dunphy, who was also in the audience, felt the survey was a great idea as it gets the pulse of the community.

“I like it.”

He said the concept of transparency and accountability that such a survey attempts to get to is essential.

“At the end of the day, it’s council that decides how spending occurs, but if something is glaring from the survey that a lot of people had a say on, then it would be hard for council not to pay attention to that,” Dunphy said.

During this presentation, Felix said already 194 online surveys were completed and their goal now is to have from 500 to 600, so they have already received about 30 per cent.

Council will be having a privileged meeting in early December after all the surveys are in and expect to have the budget ready for adoption by the middle of that month, then presented to the province before the end of the month.

He told chamber members that the town should be debt free by March 31, 2019; however, there are considerations for increasing costs coming like: garbage fees; employees collective agreement increases; energy costs; fuel costs, insurance, parts and maintenance; and revised potential funding.

Felix said while the town is in good shape financially, he would still like to see five to 10 per cent spending efficiencies in 2018 once the new council has a year under its belt.

He said the town’s report card should show a very good grade in 2018 and an excellent grade in each year of 2019 to 2021 under the current council’s mandate with a projected available new funding of $2,593,769.

Felix said anyone wanting to fill out a survey can do so online by going to the Town of Stephenville website and finding the link or dropping by the town office if a person would rather fill out a hard copy.

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