We have good news and we have bad news.
First, the bad news. Financial shenanigans involving your hard-earned tax dollars continue at City Hall. Just in the last month, we have seen serious suggestions of potential fraud, another fired City manager suing for wrongful dismissal, and the discovery that the City’s 2017 legal fees approached $900K, hundreds of thousands of dollars above the average for similar-sized BC cities.
It appears City finances have become so precarious that even $160,000 (of the $350,000 Council handed out in response to the recent tent city at City Hall) results in an added property tax increase. Once the new fire hall is added to the pile, the average residential property tax bill will increase over 4% in 2019, more than double the projected rate of inflation.
From this, we can draw at least two conclusions: first, while pensions and incomes are stalled, every taxpayer in Nanaimo will be on the hook for increased financial pressure in coming years. Second, it is clear that Nanaimo voters need a strong, competent field of candidates from which to choose in the upcoming election. And that leads us to the good news.
OurNanaimo is working in collaboration with the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, Vancouver Island University faculty members, Leadership Vancouver Island and others to launch a pilot program for eligible citizens who are considering running in the October 20 municipal election. The Speakers’ Series on Civic Leadership will feature learning sessions on the fundamentals of local governance and the competencies necessary for elected officials to effectively serve the community. The sessions will provide an overview of the roles and responsibilities of elected officials, with the objective to better prepare candidates to take on their duties if elected, and to achieve better local governance for Nanaimo citizens.
If we want to successfully start digging ourselves out of this very deep hole in 2019, Nanaimo will need eight Councillors and a Mayor who are all respectful, honest, ethical and collaborative, and that starts with qualified, competent, knowledgeable candidates on the ballot on October 20.
Details and registration of the upcoming Speakers’ Series on Civic Leadership will be announced in the coming days on multiple platforms, including OurNanaimo.com.