Just a few days ago, I heard on the radio that Boxing Day sales were only 60 days away. That is a bit disturbing how quickly time flies by. It seems to me we only just left a glorious summer behind.
It does, however, show how forward thinking and visionary we must be at the District of Squamish. I have spoken previously about how important it is to get a good start in the fall on our budget process, so that come January, we have an agreed-upon fiscal strategy for the year. In previous years, we never finalized our budgets until we were a quarter of the way through the year. Every year we see capital projects that are planned but never completed by year end. This is a result of several factors: too many projects planned for one year, starting too late in the year, council adding on projects throughout the year, and staff working on projects that do not necessarily align with our goals and priorities.
This year we are starting the process earlier but more importantly, we are being much more strategic with the planning process. The district is like an Olympic eight-man rowing team. We have all the staff pulling hard at the oars and council are holding the tiller and calling the stroke.
If we are going to win this race — and we are — we all need to be working as a unified, focused team with the same goal in mind. Our CAO, Corien Speaker, is making fantastic headway at aligning staff so that they are all pulling on the oars in symmetry, working as a team and walking the talk to ensure that DOS is a customer service organization focused on the community’s goals and vision.
In the past, the planning process was entirely focused on the year ahead and looked more like a prioritized wish list. This fall council and staff are collaborating to ensure the final work plans and budget for 2013 are actually Step 1 in our long-term plans. We will be able to show how 2013 works align with our Official Community Plan. The projects undertaken will clearly be a part of the three-, five- and 20-year planning.
This will apply to meeting our infrastructure needs as well as how these works fit into the long-term financial plan and maintaining the financial integrity and viability of our community.