An interesting component that is shared by successful global leaders is a strong sense of accountability. Successful leaders do not scapegoat the problems they face on intangible items beyond their control; such as global recessions or mind-controlling, alien robots. Good leaders accept the things they cannot change, and focus on the task at hand. In Revelstoke, the ‘task at hand’, rejuvenating the local economy, has gone unacknowledged for the past several years. Far easier to blame evil alien robots then to sit down and have a good long think about how to fix a problem.
Some would have us believe that our municipal leaders are powerless against the global economic forces conspiring against them. What can poor Revelstoke do in the face of overwhelming odds of plunging housing markets and austerity efforts in Greece? Well, for starters, maybe they could stop watering the community flower beds during a rain storm?
It really is the simple things that we are asking for. Simply: Stop spending money! Simply: Stop raising taxes! Simply: Stop creating ‘make work’ projects! Simply: Start focusing on the task at hand! Simply: Start focusing on the City’s business. Simply: Start with a Core Services Review!
Like it or not, Revelstoke has seen a great deal of service creep in recent years. While many other communities have tightened their belts, weathered the economic storm and are now experiencing recovery and full on rejuvenation, Revelstoke is still suffering negative growth 6 years after the dreaded recession. Time and again, we hear about swelling spending at City Hall, yet another year of tax increases and the forlorn excuse that there is nothing to be done but to keep throwing money into the pit of municipal management. Perhaps it is time to take a page from other communities like Vernon, Mission, Prince George, Penticton and others that have decided to take a tough line on municipal spending and undertake a Core Service review.
While in some ways frightening, Core Service Reviews are a necessary tool to ensure our governments are being frugal and efficient in spending our hard-paid tax dollars. In difficult economic times, spending must be reined in and a Core Service review establishes exactly where money should be spent, and identifies all the holes in the levee where money is being flushed away. What services are best provided by the City and which can be more efficiently delivered by private Revelstoke businesses?
We are not far off from a municipal election that will hopefully bring new direction and new ideas to Revelstoke. Will any candidates take progressive action in advocating for a Core Service Review? Perhaps our City leaders can take some mentorship from these other communities, or perhaps even the government of British Columbia, which is also undertaking a Core Service Review of its own.
Do I believe City Hall is responsible for the continued economic downturn in Revelstoke. Yes. While wasting money on shutting down a sign on Victoria Road, they are not spending dollars to stimulate the economy. While saddling developers with unending red tape preventing the development and construction of new business, City Hall is telling the world not to do business in Revelstoke. Spending your way out of debt is not a functioning philosophy.
Maybe after a Core Service Review, we could begin spending money on developing economic incentives for new and existing businesses in order to foster the foundation of our community. Ideally, the City will stop throwing money away on the many interventions against all these felonious signs which are clearly holding our community hostage with their criminality.
Wouldn’t it be nice to one day wake up at tax time and discover that taxes remained static for the first time in a decade? That the City actually managed to maintain an annual budget without increasing spending? Ah, what a wonderful dream it is to want to live in such a fantasy world!