Stephan, Jefferies clash over display of fiscal restraint

A question over whether City of Red Deer departments were showing fiscal restraint or not drew some fiery words from one city councillor.

A question over whether City of Red Deer departments were showing fiscal restraint or not drew some fiery words from one city councillor.

Cindy Jefferies said during the second day of operational budget talks that she wouldn’t tolerate comments regarding departments that appear to be toeing the line and yet others don’t seem to be.

She was speaking directly in reaction to what Coun. Chris Stephan said a few moments earlier. He lauded the efforts of the Financial Services department for keeping a rein on spending, but he said other departments, which he didn’t name, hadn’t.

“Realistically, some departments are faced with escalating costs like construction and products tied to oil and gas,” said Jefferies after Wednesday’s meeting. “Some departments, through the (City of Red Deer) strategic direction, are being asked to do more work than they’re currently doing. So to expect them to do that without increasing (resources) is not fair.”

Stephan replied it’s important to be respectful of taxpayers, too.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people in the community that they feel over the past few years that there’s been too much spending,” Stephan said. “They need a voice and they need people to stand up for them.”

A presentation was made by Financial Services manager Dean Krejci whose department isn’t asking for more staff, but is taking on more workload.

Stephan wouldn’t elaborate any further on those departments showing less restraint.

“If I have an issue with departments, that’s a reflection on the city manager (Craig Curtis) as well,” he added.

Stay tuned as budget talks continue over the next couple of weeks.

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