Council managed to pass the budget last night, coming in at 2.97%. My sense from hearing comments from council members during the deliberations is this process has included some good conversations between councillors, where some expectations about the views they assumed from of their council colleagues were set somewhat on their ears.
Without overstating it, I think the collective thinking of this council may have become more nuanced as we closed in on tonight’s meeting. There are some big gaps in terms of where council members are coming from and that can be a strength; more of that strength was present tonight with examples of accommodation between some council members, which was an effort in respect if not necessarily agreement. To be sure, there were the usual lines in the sand for individual council members but it wasn’t all that was going on. There was a better sense of identity between councillors as a governing body separate from staff that what I have previously observed.
And there were times when I wanted to pull my hair out. More on that to follow.
The process also was a good one, tonight included, because it allowed some stuff to surface. In particular, Coun. Bell’s impassioned statement about his frustration with Council’s lack of input regarding the Capital component of the process may well prove to one of the most important of the process for what it will mean for residents going forward, a truth that Coun. Kovach picked on and spoke to as well, challenging staff and her colleagues if they were only supposed to rubber-stamp what was sent to them.