Below are some useful links and materials.
Our observation at CityHallWatch is that there is a real lack of coordinated review, analysis and advocacy on behalf of taxpayers and the public when it come to the City’s finances. This is complex stuff and time intensive. If you are aware of what works well in other cities in North America, please do let us know!
Here is the link to the Regular Council meeting agenda for 9:30 am, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, where the final budget decision will be made:
Nothing is stopping citizens from contacting the Mayor or Councillors directly to ask questions and express concerns and ideas, even at this point.
Here is the link to budget-related documents and materials, including the draft budget.
A Special Council meeting was held on during the daytime (difficult for working people to attend) on February 24. Agenda, minutes, and staff presentation materials are here:
And if you’d like to review the video (all six hours, enjoy!) of the meeting, click here:
Presentations were made by these people:
- General Manager of Financial Services,
- Chief Constable,
- Chief Librarian,
- General Manager of Parks and Recreation,
- Deputy Chief, Fire and Rescue Services,
- General Manager of Engineering Services,
- Chief Housing Officer,
- General Manager of Community Services,
- General Manager of Planning and Development Services,
- Deputy City Manager
These staff also helped answer questions:
- Director of Transportation,
- Managing Director of Cultural Services,
- City Manager,
- Managing Director of Social Policy & Projects Division,
- General Manager of Human Resources,
- General Manager of Real Estate and Facilities Management
Director of Housing Policy and Projects.
From our city of over 600,000 people no citizens addressed City Council, but the following five speakers raised concerns regarding “staffing cuts and attrition and the increased demand in services associated with a growing population”:
- Gerard Batty, President, CUPE 391 (Vancouver, Gibsons and Sechelt Public Library
- Rob Weeks, President, Vancouver Fire Fighters’ Union Local 18
- Leanne Toderian, President, CUPE 15
- Andrew Ledger, President, CUPE 1004
- Mary Lynn Baum, Chair, Vancouver Public Library Board
Vancouver Courier writer Mike Howell has written about the budget, and it might help some people start to get a handle on it.
A $1.2 billion city budget means 2.4 per cent tax hike (Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier, 27-Feb-2015)
If people tweet or e-mail us their analysis and thoughts, we might be able to share them with others here.
One thing that catches our eye is this in the budget.
“Legal Services” (Does the huge increase of over $805,000 in this budget line from 2012 through 2014 reflect the cost of the City fighting against its own citizens in the ten or twenty lawsuits against it?) See page 252. And what is the reason for the huge drop-off budgeted for 2015, almost the same amount — $788,000?