Public to get their say on budget

Council will be all ears for suggestions and comments from town residents as to what they feel are the most important municipal services and projects—and thus should be considered during the 2004 budget process—at a public meeting today at 6 p.m. at the Civic Centre.
Administrative assistant Kathy Lawson said this morning that five people contacted the town to reserve time to speak at tonight’s meeting.
These include:
•Gary Rogozinski, first vice-president of the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce;
•Jim Cumming, publisher and co-owner of the Fort Frances Times (Cumming will be not be at the meeting as he currently is out of town);
•local teachers Sharon Preston and Andrew Hallikas;
•Linda Wall of the Fort Frances Children’s Complex Advisory Committee; and
•a representative of the Cyclones Swim Club.
About 10 minutes will be provided per presentation.
Two written submissions—from Brian Kahler and Doug Jensen—also were sent in prior to Friday’s deadline.
Lawson noted even if they haven’t contacted the town prior to tonight’s meeting, citizens with something to say will be given their chance as council wants to hear as many opinions as possible during this budget process.
Tonight’s meeting also will feature two presenters. Darryl Allan, the town’s manager of Information Technology, will give a Power Point presentation describing the current revenues and expenditures of the municipality.
And Doug McCaig, chair of Fort Frances Network Services, will be making an announcement.
The meeting will be broadcast simultaneously on Shaw Cable (Channel 10).
The town reported a budget shortfall of $2.8 million in late January, but councillors and town management have been meeting frequently to review operating costs and capital spending, revise user fees, and discuss personnel matters in an effort to balance the books.
The town is looking to finalize its 2004 budget by March 31.