Grumpy Taxpayer$ Chair Stan Bartlett addresses a room of fellow taxpayers at the group’s annual general meeting Wednesday evening at the Greater Victoria Public Library. The group is still pushing for accountability, transparency and action from local governments. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Grumpy Taxpayer$ Chair Stan Bartlett addresses a room of fellow taxpayers at the group’s annual general meeting Wednesday evening at the Greater Victoria Public Library. The group is still pushing for accountability, transparency and action from local governments. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Grumpy Taxpayer$ keep an eye on infrastructure spending, government transparency

Non-profit group determines 2020 priorities in annual general meeting

They might be grumpy, but the members of a local ‘citizen’s advocacy group’ remain motivated.

The Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria held its annual general meeting at the downtown public library Wednesday night, reviewing the frustrations, challenges and accomplishments of the region’s municipal governments over the past year.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria drivers can vote on the bumpiest road in the area

Chair Stan Bartlett says the non-profit has the same goals it always has: more accountability and transparency from local governments.

“We find that virtually all issues come back to what we think is a broken and dysfunctional government system,” Bartlett says. “By that I mean the 17 jurisdictions, 13 municipalities, three electoral districts and the Capital Regional District (CRD).”

Bartlett says the Grumpy Taxpayer$ have always taken the position that amalgamation should be studied closely and any changes made using evidence-based decisions.

“It’s hard to find efficiency with five police departments, parks departments…” Bartlett says. “Certainly, councils are very reluctant to change the status quo. We have 94 politicians in the region, getting wages and prestige, why would they rock the boat?” Bartlett also has concerns about rising property taxes and police spending.

In the last year though, the ‘grumpy’ group has praised what it believes to be some some positive steps in the right direction. Those steps include the CRD’s new regular highlights report, which gives the public accessible entry points to background information on the latest decisions and changes in the region. Bartlett also praises the City of Victoria’s public dashboard, a program started in July that offers easy public access to council voting records.

READ ALSO: Grumpy Taxpayers criticize Saanich police request for five per cent budget increase

Heading into 2020, the biggest priorities include: Scrutinizing major budgets, improving transparency and reviewing infrastructure upgrades and spending.

Bartlett calls the group “exceedingly optimistic” for tackling the issues at all.

“Local governance is improving, but it’s at a slow pace,” he says. “The roads, the sewers, all that boring stuff is really, really important. It’s very complicated, its very fragmented and because its an older area things fall apart. The infrastructure needs here are great, we can’t just close our eyes and not fix the road.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents protest masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after cancellations on Friday due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Most Read