Oak Bay council watchers can breath after a week packed full of meetings.
Three committees of whole took place over the last week, one of them right after council on Feb. 25.
The committee meetings on Feb. 23 and Feb. 25 were early parts of Oak Bay’s budgeting process for the year, where municipal departments brought forward priority items they would like council to consider for 2019 and beyond. Mayor Kevin Murdoch said most of what came forward was infrastructure related. Councillors brought forward some suggestions of their own as well, with broad support apparent for bylaw reviews and increased use of environmental lenses when looking at projects.
“Really what they came forward with was primarily needs based, not one-off project recommendations,” Murdoch said, noting that in general there were no surprises. “What was surprising a little bit was some basic things like painting had been postponed for years.”
Murdoch said discussed projects will be brought back with specific cost estimates and funding strategies in late March. Tentatively, Oak Bay has a budget open house scheduled March 28 to kick off the estimates process.
“The structure of that meeting has not been determined yet. It’s an awkward mix because we want to share information, but we also want to receive feedback,” Murdoch said. “We’re doing it before the estimates, and there’s an opportunity for input during the estimates period as well. Traditionally we’ve had public input on the budget at the end, but it’s a little to late to get meaningful input at that point.”
Weekly estimates meetings are scheduled beginning April 3, then again on April 10th and 17th. The final budget is due May 14.
The formal part of council was straight forward, with only one business item listed on the agenda for Feb. 25. It was development permit for the apartment building on 1266 Newport Ave., which was approved unanimously by council.