City spending needs fresh thinking

To the Editor,

As Canada Day passed this month, we could all look back and think how thankful we all should be at what a great country our forefathers made for us. It is too bad that as we look ahead we do not see the same type of guidance.

A few weeks ago an article in a national news magazine identified city spending problems, not revenue problems.

Many of us believe that the Nanaimo council wants to be one of the leaders in this, too. It seems every week there are announcements of new ways to spend tax dollars.

Council needs to look at how they decide to spend our tax dollars as the “budget” system now in place has failed. We have all seen where the money is spent before the budget is approved and that there is a belief that budgets must be increased each year just and the sun rises and sets each day.

We need to redefine success in government as not to be the one that spends tax dollars the fastest, but who has the most tax dollars not spent at the end of the year.

We need guidelines to get back on track. We should concentrate only on the basic things a city should provide and that is water, sewer, roads, safety (fire and police protection), and parks for our enjoyment.

I also think we should add a sixth called, for lack of a better name, a helping fund, that would be three per cent of the annual budget. This would cover arts grants, dragon boat support, etc. Organizations would apply and when the three per cent is spent, there is no more.

Council and taxpayers have to rethink how our tax dollars are spent as they are not as much of a renewable resource as many believe they are.

Terry Wagstaff

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