How about three draft budgets for consideration?
Re: Christopher Foulds’ column of Feb. 12 (‘There are ways to save some money at city hall’):
“Councillor Ken Christian noted that, while there was plenty of advocacy for projects, he did not hear much in the way of suggestions on trimming costs.”
In fact, one promising cost-cutting strategy has been brought up repeatedly, yet has never been seriously considered by Kamloops council.
Year after year, it’s suggested that staff produce three draft budgets for council consideration, instead of just one.
The first budget would show what would be on the block if revenues were cut by five per cent, the second would reflect a zero dollar increase and the third would show a funding increase of five per cent.
This strategy would provide more options for council and the public to consider in terms of savings and give us a more significant role in setting city priorities.
By contrast, the current budget-consultation process is perceived as merely haggling over “extras.”
I believe the collective public reluctance to make suggestions on trimming costs has much to do with our unfamiliarity with the workings of the city.
We would rather defer to the experts — the staff who are most familiar with the intricacies of city spending — on where cost-savings might be achieved.
Staff should be requested to identify potential savings and council (after consultation with the public) should then decide whether a budget increase is in the best interest of our citizens.
Other cities have used this approach with success.
If Kamloops city council wishes to avoid annual tax increases of three or four per cent, perhaps it is time for them to consider this strategy.