Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hey Big Spender!

Mark your calendar for 7pm on January 9th, when District of North Vancouver Council invites you - yes you! - to step up and tell them what you think of their budget for next year.  As was pointed out recently by the ever eager Matthew Bond, last year's meeting was attended by exactly one member of the public.

Let's see if we can't increase that by at least 100%!

You could just e-mail Council I suppose, but we won't get to watch you live on the 'net.

You can download the Financial Plan Workbook here.

Just to get you interested, the Budget in Brief section says:
The 2017 Draft Budget proposes an overall property tax increase of 3.0%, with 2.0% to fund municipal operations and 1.0% to support funding for asset renewal. Operational savings achieved in prior years are still being realized in this budget despite higher levels of activity.
Official Community Plan related activity in the town centres and the natural renewal of aging housing stock in single family neighbourhoods are contributing to the changing face of the community. Organizational pressures continue to be managed as construction activity continues, several large projects are underway and we make further investments in our parks, recreation and transportation services. 
The 2017 operating expenditures, totalling $152.3 million, reflect these circumstances. Maintenance, renewal, and expansion of capital assets are achieved through a $49.2 million capital budget. The District’s long term funding strategy balances the costs of the District’s current and future operations with its revenue sources and financing opportunities. 
Here are some numbers.  Although lacking in detail, they do sketch out a picture of how you spend nearly $265 million dollars.

You can go here to see the Statement of Financial Information (SOFI) which  includes audited financial statements and information (to 2015) about:
  • remuneration paid to the mayor and council (Roughly $100K and $40+K respectively for 2015) (If someone sends me the 2016 numbers I'll update this)
  • salaries paid to District employees over the threshold amount of $75,000
  • amounts paid to suppliers of goods and/or services to which we paid more than $25,000 

I'm sure most of Council would love to hear your ideas for sensible, politically feasible, and popularly acceptable income and spending improvements.  Keep in mind that lot of the budget items - things like policing and services passed through by the regional government - really aren't negotiable.


Anonymous said...

Everything is negotiable.

The front desk constable at the North Shore RCMP Detachment once told me, "We do not investigate municipalities." While I say that they should start to do such investigations given the pass through we are covering. What do you think?

I point out that there is a $50,000 grant to the NSMBA (see page 21) provided for in the document. Lets make sure that is the actual amount of the grant. No hanky-panky this time around by Councilor Bond and Mayor Walton as occurred on April 5-6, 2016 to double that amount as a gratuity to their friends. God knows one could run an entire mountain bike facility for $50,000 a year given the NSMBA is supposedly a volunteer organization. No more money is required nor should it be either requested or given. The NSMBA does not qualify for alms.

Absent from the document is answer to the question of what happened to the $985,000 supposedly paid in CACs by Polygon Canyon Springs last year, and an explanation of why we need an asset replacement account contribution when $8 million from the sale of the old Lynn Valley Library was supposed to go into that account in June, 2016.

All these questions and more WILL NOT be answered by DNV Council either through public input or on written request.

John Sharpe said...

I attended this meeting. It was colourful to say the least especially regards the 9.4 agenda item regarding the OCP "implementation" review. Lisa was asking for a deferral of all development application for the next 90 days. Roger was laughing at her from the side of the council seats.

Anonymous said...

Land Use decisions are the job!! A 90-day moratorium means we don't need the council for 90 days. Maybe we can get a tax rebate.

Barry Rueger said...

Hazen - can we please tone down the language and repost your comment? Words like "Greed," ignorance" or "Bullying" don't add much of value, and discourage thoughtful discussion.

Keep the talk to the issues, not personal attacks.

"The primary role of a Council like any government is to protect its citizens, move towards a just and equitable society and ensure the quality of their citizens' lives."

No debate with that though.

Hazen Colbert said...


Yes I can make a genuine try to accommodate your advice which I appreciate and take to heat. Let me be clear that I think that everyone in Council Chambers on Monday night very truly believed that their positions were in the best interests of the DNV.

Please recognize that what I saw via a video of Monday's Council meeting was a personal attack on Lisa by Roger and Richard. I was disappointed.

Lisa's 3rd and final motion that evening was pushing out the envelope. Yet I have seen EXACTLY that approach used more times than one would find crows in a Fraser Valley cornfield.

Lisa should not be subjected to contempt for her views. Heaven knows I have disagreed with her at times. But I have never, ever. ever, shut her down. Not once, even when she called me and went on for 45 minutes.

Anonymous said...

However, it is a two way street and I have seen Lisa fire at Roger as well. She scoffs and laughs and makes cutting remarks too.

When Lisa is losing a vote she calls for patience and building consensus, but when she is winning a vote there is no such compassion for the losers.

Roger just wants to cut to the chase, vote. No waiting for consensus to form, just get there. If you lose, move on, and if you win, move on.

I tend to prefer the middle ground, some issues really need a near unanimous vote and it may be worth waiting to find that consensus. Most don't.

Anonymous said...

The sad reality is that the “planning department” doesn’t ask enough from the developers. Most other Metro Vancouver communities are able to fund things like parks, Rafa and community centres through development. Not the District though. Pretty sad.

Anonymous said...

Rafa ...meant roads. Damn autocorrect!