A few thoughts about the draft 2016-2020 budget

To the Editor:

The excerpt below is from the recommendations made to Council by the 2012/13  Focus Group:

“We continue to have the concerns voiced in previous Focus Group reports about the adequacy of processes to drive accountability, efficiency, and value-for-money.  

Investments in services and programs should be defined, matched with cost and benefits and outcomes aligned with City goals and objectives. City processes continue to look at departments activities and focus on operational delivery (the work) rather than outcomes (the result).  This makes it difficult to assess relevance and efficiency and adjust for changing priorities on the basis of achieving objectives.”

Not a lot seems to have changed. With regard to the draft budget now being offered up for public comment:

We now see the 2016 planned budget. Councils continue to request input yet after 4 Focus Groups (and I am sure some community suggestions) virtually nothing has changed.  It again focuses on the ‘percentage’ increase and not on the total being spent. Councils in the last decade have repeatedly done this. It continually adds items to spend but does not look at the ongoing large increase in spending. There is a point where something new has to come from reduced spending somewhere else.

The TCH intersection  is now heading for another change. It was not many years ago that City Hall embraced the new plan of the day what was the investment then? It was even promoted stating it was going to save lives. The cost for this next one has ballooned to over a $1,000,000 from $500,000. Engineering stated it was ‘bumped’ — that’s one hell of a bump. The old adage never enough to do it right but always enough to do it twice rings true.

The City continues to suffer from administrative overload. You only need to look at the  salary totals to see it. We are a City of barely 7,000 where are the justifications and results to support this burden?

While City Hall cannot be held accountable for the total  population decline it should shoulder a large part of it. Some of the its policies and bylaws are neither resident- or business-friendly. Incentives for business- or resident-created secondary housing are non existent. If  Councils persists in this direction  we will reach a point of non-sustainable spending. Will we fall below a population of 7,000 by the time of the next Census? If there is not a significant change in approach by Council it is quite likely.

Bob Melnyk
Revelstoke, BC