Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum was thumbing through a budget pamphlet during today’s council meeting and it struck him that the document essentially assumes the draft budget is a done deal. The hard copy made available today is marked “consultation version.”
Nussbaum saw that the pamphlet says the “2015 budget will deliver” and it gets into the things that are in the proposed budget.
“I think a member of the public looking at this document might be under the impression that the budget is decided when you use words like ‘will deliver’ and the word ‘will’ is used throughout the document,” Nussbaum said, adding that he only saw the words “proposes to” once in the short time he had the hard copy document.
(To be fair, I counted multiple references to “proposes” after taking a longer look at it).
Nussbaum said the city has to be careful with these things to not “incite cynicism into this process.”
There certainly is a perception that the draft budget is, really, the final document with councillors having little wiggle room to change anything. It’s not easy getting residents out to budget consultations.
“It’s important to be careful with our language,” Nussbaum advised.