Time is ripe for municipal reform

Re: Financial crisis looming for city, Letters, March 22.

To the Editor,

Re: Financial crisis looming for city, Letters, March 22.

Wayne Schulstad outlines the nature of our looming  municipal financial crisis and indicates why it is nearly upon us.  What he doesn’t say is how it could be avoided.

In this respect, I can think of no better words than those supplied by four astute observers of a very similar financial drama being played out in nearby Victoria.

In an op/ed piece published in the Times Colonist, among other things these four said: “We want city hall to shift to a three-year budgeting cycle with results-based indicators, act on new revenue streams, conduct a thorough review of staffing levels and compensation, and place greater emphasis on dealing with the city’s growing infrastructure challenges.”

They concluded by saying: “our position is that taxpayers deserve more rigour, more thoughtfulness, more creativity, more partnerships – and fewer automatic 4.5-per cent tax increases.”

Familiar words, all, as well as to the point.

Long overdue municipal reform is evidently in the air, and not just in Nanaimo.

But municipal politics being what it is, the spur for reform will most likely come from the provincial political party that best reads the developing political landscape and puts forward solid proposals to deal with issues related to financial reform, bureaucratic accountability and political responsiveness.

The time for such a reform package is more than ripe – it’s long overdue.

Eric Ricker

Nanaimo

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