Manchester PC to Hold Public Budget Meetings

The Manchester Parish Council is urging all residents to come out and participate in the series of public budget meetings, which will be held across the parish over the next two months. The first meeting will be held in Porus on Thursday, February 10.
Secretary Manager of the parish council, Winston Palmer, told JIS News that the overall aim of the exercise was to heighten public awareness about the resources and activities of the council. “It is also an attempt to bring greater transparency to the current system,” he pointed out.
He said that two meetings would be held per week. “We will be going to all 15 divisions on either a Tuesday or Thursday evening and persons who attend will have the opportunity to air their views on what they think should be the areas of priority on which the council should focus,” he informed.
The Manchester Parish Council has been hosting public budget meetings since 1999. Noting the importance of the exercise, Mr. Palmer said, “it is my view that public participation in governance, in keeping with the local government reform process, is what will ultimately determine the success or failure of our democracy and by extension our parish councils.”
Meanwhile, the Secretary/Manager said that the council had put a number of measures in place “to increase democratic participation as well as to improve customer satisfaction in so far as it relates to the provision of certain core services”.
“Some time ago, we made the necessary legislative amendments so that members of the public are allowed to sit on nearly all of our committees with the one exception being that of human resource. We have increased our enforcement capacity by implementing a system centred around men and women trained as municipal police,” he informed JIS News.
Mr. Palmer also observed, that the recent upgrading of buildings owned by the council, should go a long way in ensuring that all visitors could conduct their affairs in more comfortable surroundings.
“More than $44 million was expended on the physical infrastructure.most of the work was done on the main council buildings. The contractors took care not to damage the original Georgian architecture,” he said.
The improvements included the provision of new offices for senior managers, a new Caucus room and the expansion of the main building, to include an office for the Mayor. He said that work was continuing on the construction of a Council Chamber, which when completed, “will be fantastic as it will boast a modern public address system.”

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