Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nanaimo City Council Meeting 10/20/14

  Nanaimo City Council Meeting

Monday Oct. 20, 2014
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

        Democracy Is Too Important To Leave To The Politicians
        Do Your Civic Duty By Getting Informed and Getting Involved

        If you say: " I'm too busy just trying to keep it together to get involved, consider that perhaps, if you were more involved you might not be having so much trouble keeping it together "!

        You can view this Council Meeting Agenda here - - -  Agenda .

        If you can't attend council meetings in person (preferred) you can watch regular council meetings on Shaw cable channel #4. You can also watch the meetings live on the city website using this link. 

        The regular city council meetings are the only ones broadcast live on either Shaw Cable or streaming video from the city website. The Committee of the Whole meetings, while not broadcast live are recorded and can be viewed on the city website HERE.

         Some Council Decisions You Might Want To Think About

        The city just agreed to pay an outside firm nearly $25,000 to review the city website's content and set up a navigation structure. Our IT head gets paid about $150,000 a year and IT staff are paid at least $37.00/hr. and yet they can't properly set up the city website?

        The city paid a consulting firm $75,000 for the purpose of reviewing and developing governance-related policy, structures and processes. (In other words to tell the city manager and mayor how to do their jobs). A recommendation that came out of this report was the hiring of Alison Habkirk (an associate of Jerry Berry) at a cost of $8500, again to tell city management and council how to do their jobs.
        Council decided to spend $120,000 to install a public toilet at Diana Krall Plaza.

        Council decided to spend at least $200,000 on the old theatre on Victoria Rd. when a $20,000 solution would have done, until it is decided what is to be done with the building long term. Two engineers have raised questions about the seismic standard of the building, but staff seem content to ignore the concern.  

        By deciding to bring downtown parking enforcement 'in-house' which was supposed to save tax dollars, we are now going to lose $140,000 in the first year.

        We are paying over $60,000/yr. for downtown parking attendants (meter maids).

        We gave a $300,000 tax exemption to the bar operating in the old train station. This exemption was originally thought to apply to the area of the train station used as a train station and not the area operating as a pub.   

        Council decided to spend $170,000 on an electric Zamboni, when a propane fueled one costs $80,000 and does the same job.

        Council decided to spend thousands of dollars to implement a policy of banning the sale of bottled water at civic facilities.

        Council decided to add another $700,000 to the $844,000,000 financial plan to pay for a communications person (spin doctor), do you think that is a good use of YOUR tax dollar??

        Two years ago they decided to spend $16,000,000.00 on a new staff office, an amount equal to YOUR tax increase for 5 years! 



        1. I am a avid follower of your blog and appreciate the time and effort that goes into producing an informative news blog. I do take issue with one of your articles and wording about what you see as a waste of 'our' tax dollars. As someone who recently was shopping downtown ( I do weekly) and was able to have a nice chat with one of the Bylaw Enforcement Officer who works downtown, or 'meter maids' as you call them! Which I find very offensive by the way! The officer was very approachable and very informative and took the time to answer my questions about his role downtown. I was surprised that the group of Bylaw Officers that work downtown also look after the security aspect in the downtown doing early morning patrols and well as continuing this throughout their shift. Parking Enforcement, Bylaw Enforcement ( which was originally what I observed the fellow doing ) and they are ambassadors for the City and downtown. He was a wealth of knowledge. I'd say that's a wee bit more than being a 'meter maid' A very well spoken and polite guy, who you could tell enjoyed doing his job. It changed my perception of what these fellows do. A few minutes on the street really made a difference. It seems like 'we' as taxpayers are getting a pretty good service as these men juggle 4 different hats under one umbrella. My wife and I both feel that it takes a pretty adaptable individual to perform all these duties and they are a huge asset to our City. As someone who is running for a councillor position, I feel it's important that the follower views the correct information for which you write. We feel there is some 'tax fatigue' I would say this is not one item that is negatively hurting our great City. We are all open to our own opinions and I appreciate that you have voiced yours as I have been afforded the same here. Making an informed and educated decision on voting day is key. Thank-you and continued success.

        2. Thank you for your comments always appreciated. Before parking was taken into city hall, it was administered by Robbins Parking. Parking actually showed a net income on the city ledger. Security was also handled very efficiently by a private company who did wonders in cleaning up the downtown core, and they were doing a great job. By taking parking into city hall, we have created yet another tax eating bureaucracy that has resulted in parking actually costing us money now.

          I have no doubt that the gentleman you encountered was helpful and courteous, but I do not think we are getting good value when we are paying people $32/hr. to patrol parking meters.

          I hope you will continue to take the avid interest in our city as you apparently do. On this point I do disagree and do not think the city is any better served now than it was before, for less money.


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