It was about eight weeks ago that the Nanaimo RCMP made a presentation to Nanaimo Council regarding Nanaimo’s 2014 budget issues and at the time, councillors decided to opt out of adding $1 million into the RCMP reserves.
That has all changed. City staff advised Nanaimo Council on Monday, March 24th, that suddenly now they have a funding source for the extra $1 million. Apparently, the $1 million has been allocated for investigations that may be already be taking place.
A major campaign occurred over Spring Break in which Nanaimo residents were bombarded on tv, newspapers, and social media about a lost pet emu. Is it possible that this was a joint project involving the provincial government, media and federal departments? National coverage was obtained and even a helicopter was used. Could this operation have required a portion of the $1 million? Let’s hope not.
Questions were raised about the allocation of the $1 million investigation funding reserve: “When do we choose to take the money out of reserve? Who is going to account for the money spent? Why not pay for investigations on a as-needed basis?”
Meanwhile, the 2014 budget reveals that the City of Nanaimo is:
- behind in collecting building inspection fees by $444,000
- under funded on development cost charges by $600,000
- down investment income by $325,000
- in deficit $3,565,523 (not including interest)
- owing consultant fees of $470,000 for Colliery Dam (to the end of Feb 2014)
Also, Nanaimo’s Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council was set up for $3000. What advice will the next generation will have to share and is Council prepared to listen? In the meantime, Council is considering ‘simplifying’ meetings by reducing public participation.
An upcoming bylaw would change public question period to be set aside for media only. Unfortunately the media in Nanaimo is constricted by their own alliances from asking any questions.