At this meeting, council discussed staff’s 20-month delay in presenting a report on the seismic vulnerability of 16 City buildings. Watch the video!
On May 3, councillor Ben Isitt proposed that the City appoint an oversight monitor to review the replacement of the Johnson Street Bridge. Isitt later withdrew his motion — which Mayor Dean Fortin suggested put the project at risk of “political interference.” Fortin’s words are disappointing, because independent oversight has been sorely lacking from this project, and is exactly what it needs.
Open Victoria has obtained the complete consultants’ reports on the city’s Fire Hall #1 and Crystal Pool. The reports — neither of which are on the City’s website — suggest that both buildings should be replaced, at a cost of at least $15 million for a new fire hall, and around $20 million for a new pool and fitness facility. How will we be able to pay for all this, when the City has nearly maxed out its manageable debt? Read our summaries of the reports, and get ready to ask some questions of your elected officials.
Budgets aren’t sexy, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Take a look at the international news: the world is teetering on the brink of financial crisis again because Greece has racked up colossal debt. On this continent, many American states are undertaking huge budget cuts, and some U.S. municipalities are verging on bankruptcy. The City of Victoria isn’t at that point … yet. But as the City’s own budget documents reveal, there are signs that our politicians will face some hard choices in 2012. Here’s a quick map of the financial train wreck we’re heading toward, using charts from the City’s own budget presentations.
All election campaigns run on money. In the City of Victoria, the amounts that candidates spend to become mayor or councillor total several hundred thousand dollars. That may be peanuts compared to a US presidential race — but it’s just as important for citizens to know where the money is coming from, and who backs a candidate with cash. Under provincial law, municipal candidates are required to file a campaign finance statement within 120 days after an election. We won’t know the amounts spent in the 2011 election until next spring. But it is possible to report what successful candidates received and spent in 2008 — numbers that have not been fully disclosed to the public until now.
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