Monday, August 12, 2013

City Council Aug. 12 Notes

Why You Shouldn't Expect Tax Savings Next Year Either

During an otherwise uneventful city council meeting, the parks and rec department were recommending to city council they spend $32,000 to convert a propane powered Zamboni to an electric machine. The claim was the conversion would add five years to the life cycle of the machine and save about $27,000 I believe.

It was noted by Councilor Bestwick that some months back we opted to spend about $180,000 on a new electric Zamboni which was at least twice the price of a new propane machine. The braintrust at parks and rec justified the expense with predictions of life cycle savings that would more than offset the initial capital cost difference.

The city apparently has six Zambonis in our fleet, which Bestwick noted could all be converted for the price of buying the one new one. Councilor Johnstone, parks and rec committee chairperson explained to Councillor Bestwick that the reason for buying the new machine, was because the one it was replacing had reached the end of it's usefulness and couldn't be converted.

She seemed to miss the opportunity to simply not replace the old machine, but apply the same funds to the conversion of all the other machines instead. Thus between Councillor Johnstone and parks and rec staff it was clearly explained why we would be foolish to expect any possible savings to be reflected in the next city budget.

Ipsos Reid Survey Claims 91% Satisfaction Rate

As expected the $7000 survey city hall bought with your tax dollars, once again shows a high citizen satisfaction rate. No surprise there. Ipsos Reid knows, few cities would spend $7000 on surveys that said citizens were unsatisfied.

Local city council watcher, Mr. Robert Fuller asked council why they weren't using the more accurate 5 point survey rather than the tainted 4 point survey, and Councillor Brennan noted, we couldn't compare ourselves with other communities if we varied from the Ipsos Reid format. Mr. Fuller wisely pointed out he was not interested in comparing other communities, but rather was interested in what was going on in Nanaimo.

This survey presents another tax saving measure lost on this city administration and council.The surveys are pretty much useless as they give such a biased positive view of things.

 Security Officer Present During Meeting

I can remember the time when there might be 4 or 5 people in the gallery during a regular council meeting and over the past few years have been pleased to see citizen participation growing to the point where 25 - 30 is a 'usual' number in the gallery.

With the recent controversy over the Colliery Dams, those numbers have swelled to the point where some meetings, saw the gallery pretty much completely full.

I guess city council or the VICC are fussed about some possible conflict as there has been at least one security officer present during the city council meetings of late. Last night was no exception as one security officer was stationed at the back of the auditorium for the duration of the council meeting, which hardly seems necessary.

When questioned about it, Mayor Ruttan explained that the choice of security was a decision made by the conference centre and had nothing to do with city hall. I presume we are supposed to accept the fact, this unnecessary cost does not come out of the taxpayers' pocket as the conference centre pays for them. Oooppps, almost forgot the conference centre gets its' money from the taxpayer also.


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