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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Unbalancing the Budget

Below is a letter to the editor, my first in 5 months, I wrote shortly after Nanaimo City Council passed its 2012 budget as well as recent stories and other letters to do with the 2012 council budget. It is important to know that feedback can still be given to council but the liklihood of the budget now being reduced is slim.

As I mention this is the first time in living memory a budget sugested by staff has actually been increased by council and it all in effect started with council approving themselves a raise.

City finance decisions often made 'In Camera' Gord Fuller March 17, 2012
City finance decisions often made 'in camera' The Daily News
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012

For the first time in living memory of present and past Nanaimo councils, this council has actually approved a budget greater than that initially recommended by city staff.

Starting with a pay raise of 26% over three years then moving on to tax incentives for hotel development and increasing the already top heavy bureaucracy of the city by creating the position of Communication Manager it is no wonder taxpayers feel frustrated and unheard.

These decisions and other wondrous ways of increasing the budget and taxes were all initiated at the little known other regular meeting of city council, the Finance Policy Committee of the Whole. Council has also chosen far more often, it seems, to meet 'in camera.'

An opportunity exists, though council seems reticent to implement it, to video and make available to the public proceedings of Finance Policy Committee of the Whole meetings. This and a distinct time period when 'in camera' meeting information will be made available to the public could go a long way towards the oft-promised, by all candidates during the election, but seldom implemented openness and transparency of council.

Will council learn from its mistakes or will it continue to, as it has in the past, be an example to other cities of how not to govern?

Gordon W. Fuller, Nanaimo

No say for those who don't pay taxes here J.C. Broderick March 24, 2012
Has a point though I wasn’t aware of a lot of letters from out of town. Guess I need to pay more attention or he does.

Escalating city expenses unsustainable and risky Wayne Schulstad March 23, 3012
End urban sprawl to control taxes Ian Gartshore March 19, 2012
Public must challenge council on spending Robert Fuller March 15, 2012
Philip Wolf: City officials need help with communications March 15, 2012
Lowering property tax is not so simple March 14, 2012
Homeowners will bear brunt of new costs in city's financial plan March 13, 2012
No need to spend more money on city pr officer N.A. Ravensbourg March 6, 2012
Mouthpiece may help city Philip Wolf March 1, 2012
City's communication post draws out critics the expense Feb 29, 2012
Bulletin letters and story’s re budget.
Nanaimo Council adopts budget March 17, 2012
Non-essential costs need to be reduced Frank Mendelson March 23, 2012
Financial crisis looming for city Wayne Schulstad March 22, 2012
Council remains tight lipped on many decisions Gord Fuller March 20, 2012
Citizens can’t afford frivolous spending Ron Makepeace March 13, 2012
No research behind new staff position Drake M. Churchbridge March 6, 2012
City outsourcing roles S. I. Petersen March 6 2012
Nanaimo residents already speaking out March 6, 2012

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