Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 - 2019 Nanaimo Financial Plan

Can Anyone Figure What This Council Means?

Anyone who tuned into the last City of Nanaimo Council Meeting was witness to what is a clearly divided and dare I say dysfunctional city council. 

The subject where this great divide was witnessed was when it came to giving first three readings to the 2015 - 2019 Financial Plan which in the first year has a 1% tax increase which had been reduced from a 1.8% increase which had been originally budgeted.

Four of our city council are not satisfied that the budget could only be reduced by .8%, while four members of council  were willing to adopt the proposed plan even though three of them felt their should be not cuts at all.

A Short History Lesson

The following is taken from 'draft' minutes of the Jan. 21 and Jan. 30 Special Committee of the Whole meetings. The are still draft minutes as this council has not held a regular COW meeting at which these minutes could be adopted. They were on the agenda for the cancelled Feb. 23rd meeting.

On January 21 at a Special Committee of the Whole Meeting attended by Mayor McKay, Counillors Brennan, Thorpe, Pratt, Hong and Bestwick. Absent were Councillors Kipp, Yoachim and Fuller. At this meeting a motion was put forward by Mayor McKay (I believe) to instruct staff to return a budget for 2015 with a .8% cut which would arrive at a 1% increase for the year. This motion was opposed by both Hong and Bestwick both of whom argued that they would like to see more options than accepting only a .8% cut. This motion was passed with Bestwick and Hong opposed.

It is more than likely that had Kipp, Yoachim and Fuller been in attendance, this motion would not have passed in the first place. Some of the absent councillors expressed their concern that they were not made aware this important budget item was going to be on the table at a 9:00 pm COW meeting.

On the January 30 Special Committee of the Whole Meeting council was presented with 2015 - 2019 Plan reducing the increase to 1%. There was a motion to approve this plan and direct staff to bring forward a 2015 - 2019 Financial Plan Bylaw, this motion carried. This meeting was attended by Mayor McKay, Councillors Bestwick, Kipp, Hong, Brennan, Pratt and Thorpe, with Councillor Yoachim and Fuller (now in hospital) absent. This motion passed with councillors Brennan, Pratt and Thorpe opposed.

At the Feb. 17 City Council Meeting, staff presented council with the proposed bylaw and asked for first, second and third reading. This motion was defeated on a tie vote, as was Councillor Kipp's motion seeking a 2% cut in the budget. This is the genesis of the budget having been put back on the table for discussion at the now, cancelled COW meeting of Feb. 23.

The Bouncing Ball

On the motion to reduce the tax increase for 2015 by .8% leaving a 1% increase in place, the following is the voting record of members of this council so far.

On January 21:  In Favour : McKay, Brennan, Thorpe, Pratt Opposed: Hong, Bestwick Absent Kipp, Yoachim and Fuller.

On January 30:  In Favour McKay, Bestwick, Hong, Kipp. Opposed Brennan, Thorpe Pratt. Absent Fuller and Yoachim.

On February 23:  In Favour McKay, Brennan, Thorpe, Pratt. Opposed Hong, Yoachim, Bestwick and Kipp. Absent Fuller.

Perhaps Councillor Bestwick hit the nail on the head with his suggestion that a ouija might be required to divine council business. It certainly could give one a headache if you are trying to follow what this council stands for. 


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