Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Tax & Spend Team On City Council

Councillors Brennan, Thorpe, Pratt and Mayor McKay

We all know we can forget what most candidates will tell you during an election campaign and the only way to truly know a person's position is by observation after they are elected.

The actions of Councillors Brennan, Thorpe, Pratt and Mayor McKay would seem to place them firmly in the tax and spend camp with no belief in the proposition of tax fatigue in Nanaimo.

This past City Council meeting revealed which city councillors may actually be trying to hold the line on city taxes and which do not believe it a priority.

There was a motion before council to give first reading to the 2015 - 2019 financial plan which reflects a 1% increase in taxes for 2015. Originally there had been a budgeted increase of 1.8% which was reduced by .8% on instruction of city council which was not a unanimous decision at an early morning Special COW meeting.

While Councillors Brennan, Thorpe, Pratt and Mayor McKay were in favour of giving first reading to this budget bylaw without seeking further tax reductions, Councillors Hong, Yoachim, Bestwick and Kipp felt they have not been diligent enough in trying to find further tax cuts. The motion to give first reading failed on the tie vote.

Councillor Kipp then put a motion on the table instructing city staff to roll up their sleeves and provide council with recommendations for a further 2% tax cut. At this point the city manager warned that any further cuts could impact service levels. Neither he, nor some members of council seemed to understand Kipp's suggestion that within a $17 million procurement budget, economy is likely to be found, if there is a willingness to look for it.

Kipp's motion to look for further reductions was also defeated on a tie vote with Councillors Hong, Yoachim, Bestwick and Kipp wanting to look for further cuts, while Councillors Brennan, Thorpe, Pratt and Mayor McKay voted against looking for further cuts to spending.

This whole performance left council looking very divided on the approach to city spending, with the emergence of the new 'Tax & Spend Champions' coming to the fore.

The whole matter will be on the COW meeting next Monday, and will be revisited at the first City Council meeting in March.


1 comment:

  1. Where is the real Bill McKay? The previous councillor who questioned stupid spending - and scrutinized motions, reports and crazy staff recommendations.

    I really miss him.

    Kevan Shaw


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