Time, money wasted by Greater Victoria municipalities

Budget time for civic governments offers opportunity to make sensible choices

A risk in the current round of municipal budgeting is trimming instead of eliminating.

One bureaucrat stated in a Black Press newspaper that every department has been asked to do more with less. That good notion fails in context, because some departments already try, but others don’t, so the good are penalized.

Municipalities need to eliminate activities, starting with fancy flowers in front of city hall, tree trimming instead of replanting, and costly signs.

They waste on faulty “consultation” exercises not competently done, unrepresentative surveys, and verbose reports with gratuitous graphics.

Consultants are paid to do what anyone with sense can stand on the street and see. Unrepresentative volunteer committees are given free lunches while they do biased pondering they aren’t competent to undertake. Fortunately, Colwood is questioning subsidizing the West Shore Chamber of Commerce. Will all municipalities stick to basics instead of handouts for marketing?

A huge proportion of time is spent micromanaging development, such as Saanich’s foot-dragging and wordsmithing on secondary suites, instead of getting out of the way of honest people.

Municipalities spend on pet do-gooder projects, such as Colwood’s solar energy subsidy and its support for anti-radio activists who fail high school physics.

Government costs could be reduced by ensuring quality of staff and contractors and changing work rules. Spray-painting curbs without lifting the weeds is a small example.

Duplication of activism and regulation raises the total tax bill for businesses and residents – some subjects are under the thumb of five layers of fiefdoms.

Meanwhile citizens attempting to build, earn and live have to spend time coping with the results of inadequate policing. I doubt they want crime instead of taxes. Government is shirking its duty – protecting citizens against the initiation of force.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich