Friday, February 13, 2015

Nanaimo City Budget To Pass Early This Year


Little Budget Scrutiny By This New Council

In spite of campaign promises to hold the line on tax increases and even some promises about reducing taxes, it would seem this new council has had their kick at the can for this year.

For those not too familiar with the process (and I would include four of our new Councillors) in years past city staff would present a draft budget usually in December which would be scrutinized by council and the public before being adopted by the drop-dead date of May 15th. For the months of January through April the public was invited to make presentation at council meetings with input into the process. Albeit this exercise was as much about the appearance of being able to alter the budget as much as doing anything really substantive.

It was usually during this time if council asked staff to present areas of possible reduction of expenses, they would be presented with a list of politically unacceptable cuts. In all the time I have watched council, I never remember an option of a zero wage increase for senior management as being one option to control expenses. Remember over 80% of every tax dollar collected pays for wages and benefits of union and non-union city employees and the RCMP staff.

Last year council sat through a gruelling 80 hour budget review process which resulted in no meaningful spending reductions, in spite of some last minute efforts by Councillors Bestwick and Kipp.

Budget Adoption Starts Feb.16

At the February 16th City Council meeting this council will be asked to give first, second and third reading to Bylaw No. 7206, A BYLAW TO CONFIRM AND ADOPT THE FINANCIAL PLAN. This will mean the financial plan (budget) can be adopted as early as the next regular council meeting.

I suspect some of our new councillors wishing to fulfil their promises of fiscal restraint will be disappointed when they realize that by adopting the .8% budget reduction recently, they have effectively concluded their input into the process for this year.

While changes to the budget can be made by amendment it is highly unlikely this council will bring forward any options as the time for setting a spending policy and directing staff to follow that policy has long since passed.

allvoices

3 comments:

  1. Do we have access to the budget being approved?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is included in the agenda for the Feb. 16 council meeting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Next question - Can we have another election now then, please kind sir?

    I see a little bit of improvement from the last council...but not a whole heck of a lot!

    Kev

    ReplyDelete

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