Nanaimo council approves core review plan

NANAIMO – The issue of prison guards, a proposed cut in the core services review, is expected to go to council on Monday.

Nanaimo city staff aim to see core service recommendations with heavy lifting for decision-making and impact done by the first quarter of next year, according to Victor Mema, chief financial officer.

At Monday’s meeting, council approved in principle an implementation plan for 90 core review recommendations that lays out when issues should come forward.

The plan has a $15,000 budget and was created by Western Management Consultants, the same company that did the core services review for the city this year.

No changes were made by councillors, although Coun. Bill Bestwick had concerns core review initiatives will take the city through two budget cycles, including during an election year.

“I can well imagine if we haven’t made decisions for the 2017 budget cycle that drives the five-year plan and in particular 2018 … we may find some challenges at that point in time,” he said.

Mema said projects, recommendations or areas where decisions have impact to the city are ones city staff have tried to make sure they can get done by the first quarter of 2017. The rest are process and don’t necessarily impact policy.

According to Tracy Samra, city chief administrative officer, current budget items on which council can make decisions, such as ‘gender guarding,’ the conference centre and Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, have been identified, so a portion of efficiencies can be done going into next year. Staff have started on recommendations believed to have the greatest return on savings.

Council has already considered a report on economic development and Samra said following it will be others on the conference centre and Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association. Prison guards, a proposed cut in the review, will be a topic on next week’s council agenda.