I was somewhat encouraged by the sudden lack of cohesiveness on the council from the perspective of possibly having diverse opinions which I feel is healthy for a democracy. Someone has to stand up to the constant demands put forth by management and staff.
The original tax increase of 4.39 per cent was outrageous given the unprecedented development plus infill projects which should be the least costly to the taxpayers and should reduce tax rates.
This mayor and council should look to the west in Port Coquitlam. Mayor Brad West’s original budget of 0.43 per cent tax increase was dropped to 0 per cent because of these unprecedented times. Sharpened pencils with restraint should be the order of the day.
We don’t expect councillors to know the details of every department running the city. The managers of every department put forth their wants at budget time which do not take into account the efficiencies and ability to pay including fear-mongering by some managers.
Council has to have the courage to demand every department keep their budget wants to the cost of living increase. Department managers know where to cut and make efficiencies and if they don’t they need to be replaced.
Was the hiring of a new public relations and communications manager necessary at this time? Is that not a job the mayor and council could take on?
Like running your household in good times you put money away for when a rainy day occurs, like this pandemic and the inevitable storm, the replacement of the sewer pipe crossing the Fraser River.