Friday, June 7, 2013

Propsal regarding budgeting

The planter box/garden project stirred questions about voting and ultimately about planning. People are busy, and coming to a meeting during a weeknight or during a weekend seems to be problematic for busy families. As much as I like electronic voting, it is not the sole answer to engage this community and if not used properly, can be counter-productive.

I would like to formally document and clarify the budgeting process and offer an idea on how to address it in the future.

The current process:

In order to get a project or a proposal funded, it needs to be approved in that year’s budget. The budget is submitted for approval at the November community meeting. The items are discussed and voted on during the November meeting.

But what about issues and ideas that come up after the budget is set? If an item is proposed to be funded that is not in the budget within a calendar year, a community vote will take place to approve or reject said funding.

Many of you who cannot attend meetings want to provide input into the budget process. This is my suggestion allowing everybody in the community to be heard but also encourages meeting attendance:

Potential future process:

1. All budget proposals must be submitted to the association by September 15th (you can access the form here).
2. A preliminary electronic vote will take place with all proposed items. This preliminary process will determine if an item will go to the community meeting for final vote. Essentially the community can determine if a proposal has merit and be placed on the ballot or if it should be eliminated.
3. The formal budget voting with the approved items will take place at the November meeting and the budget will be finalized.

In the past, if a suggestion has been made, one of the board members would jump in and research the request. Moving forward, the person making the request should have some idea of the cost and work involved in said project before it is proposed. We also included additional contact information so you can give us the information on a contractor or local official you are working with.

I think this process is a fair balance of engaging busy community members while still encouraging people to come to the meetings to participate in person. Let me know your thoughts.