Video in city hall annex provides transparency during budget process

Committee of the whole meetings are where budget/finance and city policy are discussed and decided.

To the Editor,

At its meeting on June 18, the committee of the whole voted not to install video equipment in the new city hall annex boardroom where the committee meetings are held, but to go ahead and rough in the necessary wiring for it.

The argument against going ahead with the installation was primarily on the grounds of budget. But council has an untouched contingency fund of $100,000 which would be more than adequate for this purpose.

I am sure that there are still other contingency funds associated with the annex or for the city itself which could be available. It is peculiar that council should vote to spend money on roughing in the wiring when it doesn’t lead to videos.

Does council want to build the not-quite-video-bridge to nowhere?

Alternatively, meetings where video equipment is already available could continue to be held in the Shaw Auditorium at a net cost of about $375 per meeting. I am not sure of the cost when we don’t use it, but I know that we must fill the void in the conference centre budget. The money to be spent on wiring the annex would give us about a year and a half of video recorded committee of the whole meetings there.

In 2013, the budget is estimated at about $171.5 million, an increase of $11.5 million over this year and a possible tax increase of about 14 per cent (one per cent represents about $800,000 in the budget) unless other sources of money are discovered.

Citizens need to be able to see and hear council as it goes into the presentations and discussions that will finalize that estimated budget and set the plan for the succeeding four years.  This won’t be possible in a small room with about 16 seats for the public at a meeting at 4:30 p.m. without video access.

Committee of the whole meetings are where budget/finance and city policy are discussed and decided. Citizens need to call, e-mail or write our mayor and councillors and demand that the video equipment either be installed in the new annex boardroom now, or that the committee of the whole meetings continue in the Shaw Auditorium. The budget is the city’s most important document and city policies are a close second. It is the source of our property tax bill as well as city fees.

Let’s not be frozen out of the process.

Ron Bolin

Nanaimo

Just Posted

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Curl B.C. chairperson Teri Palynchuk is this year’s winner of the Janette Robbins Award for leadership. Palynchuk is pictured here with the Curling Canada Foundation Cup along with past chairperson Peter Muir, left, and Curl B.C. CEO Scott Braley. (Photo courtesy Curl B.C.)
Nanaimo curling exec wins Curl B.C. leadership award

Teri Palynchuk receives Janette Robbins Award

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Most Read