eTown Hall Meetings Archive
On Monday, December 4, 2017, an eTown Hall meeting was held to discuss the City of Nanaimo's annual budget.
Below, you will find a video of the eTown Hall, department videos and answers to the questions that didn't asked during the meeting.
This budget proposes a 2.6% property tax increase to raise $2.6M. A few months ago we were told that a sum 31 times larger - $80M - would lead to a 0% tax increase. Until now, explanations for this significant difference in funding models have centred around the claim that general revenues could only be used for specific projects, when in fact general revenues, by definition, can be used for anything in a budget. Please explain this major discrepancy.
The financing model developed for the Events Centre was backed by a business and operating plan that utilized mechanisms that minimized impact to City finances.
By definition, general revenue is available to fund public programs.
If the operating budget increase of roughly $50million is due to changes in presentation, such as whether it's a capital budget or operating budget item, has the capital budget been adjusted for these amounts?
The City is transitioning its presentation format to one that focuses on program and service accountability. As these changes take place, necessary adjustments are being made.
Before finalizing the budget, are you willing to ask residents to choose between a) building the Waterfront Walkway or b) building more sidewalks in established neighbourhoods?
Over the summer, a series of open houses were held about expanding the Waterfront Walkway and significant support from residents was registered for this multi-year project. Council has given direction for staff to begin work on expanding the walkway starting in 2018.
The City will begin investing $300,000 per year for five years starting in 2018 in pedestrian safety of which, sidewalks will be a major part.
Is there a document that shows the total draft operations budget in tables comparing years, similar to the capital document?
A ‘budget-in-brief’ and detailed budget books will be available in the first quarter of 2018. Significant changes in the report format are underway and staff are working to ensure year-to-year comparisons are understandable. The new format will emphasize program and service accountability.
User fees increases are a huge pressure on families. Are there plans to provide grants for low income individuals, families with young children, the elderly and/or first time homeowners?
Income redistribution is dealt with at the Provincial and Federal government level where they have specific programs to address income inequality. The City does have programs for youth and seniors in place and will continue to engage in lobbying higher levels of government on social programs.
What is our residential tax burden compared to similar municipalities?
You can find a 2017 comparison here: http://www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/lgd/infra/tax_rates/tax_rates2017.htm
The Core Services Review determined the City of Nanaimo’s dependence on property tax revenue was above average compared to similar municipalities while, at the same time, it found the City to have lower user fees compared to similar municipalities.
What is the five year plan for the SIRF? Can the SIRF be allocated to downtown revitalization?
Council established the Strategic Infrastructure Reserve Fund (SIRF) to provide a funding mechanism for the City to respond to projects of a strategic or significant nature across the City. Should the 2018 – 2022 Financial Plan be approved, the first allocation from SIRF will be $300,000 per year for the term of the plan towards pedestrian safety programs.
The City has several downtown revitalizations programs in place. For example, there is a Property Tax Exemption for hotel development in the downtown core. Council is also considering a new Property Tax Exemption that will encourage development and redevelopment of commercial and residential properties in the downtown area.
If the SIRF is for infrastructure projects, could it be put towards ensuring all Harewood elementary schools are surrounded by sidewalks?
The 2018 – 2022 Financial Plan will include an annual allocation of $300,000 towards pedestrian safety programs which include sidewalks. Program details will be finalized in the first quarter of 2018.
How are City property taxes allocated to various priorities for example road rehabilitation?
The City has a Transportation Master Plan and a Paving Program which inform allocation of resources to the City’s road network.
Under which budget is the E&N trail found? Recreation or Roads? If not Roads, why not?
The E&N trail is managed through collaboration between the Recreation and Transportation programs.
Going forward how will staff expenses be monitored to ensure that tax payer money being spent is for legitimate purposes? Will there be a strong checks and balances system?
The City of Nanaimo has effective internal controls that ensure adequate separation of duties. The City recently started releasing elected officials and staff business expense details on a quarterly basis as opposed to once a year as required by legislation. The City’s disclosures exceed the minimum required by legislation.
Policies and procedures that govern elected and staff business expenses are being reviewed and updates will be completed by the first quarter of 2018.
How will the walkway be funded?
Funds received in lieu of taxes from Nanaimo Port Authority, Property Acquisition and Community Works Fund will be used towards expanding the Waterfront Walkway.
Does Nanaimo have Street cleaners? How is Nanaimo looking to improve our streets for guests and locals who drive our streets? From my understanding most of the Nanaimo residents travel on our roads every day as choice of transportation. (Something like 95 percent use something on wheels, car, bus, etc.) As the population continues to explode in our great city and our Infrastructure seems to fall behind that of similar sized city’s what is council doing to keep the exploding population accommodated on our roads?
The City’s Transportation Master Plan provides guidance in the City’s response to different modes of transportation.
If they replace Fire hall #1 when will it be done this year?
Design work on replacing Fire Hall #1 will be conducted in 2018 with construction expected to start thereafter.
What is our city council doing in Nanaimo to attract developers to build affordable accommodations for residents?
As part of Council’s 2016-2019 Strategic Plan Update, the City is developing an Affordable Housing Strategy. The report is expected to be completed by the end of summer in 2018.
What does the city plan on doing should the Nanaimo recycling exchange should close next year as much of the stuff they accept would end up in the landfill if their doors close?
The City and Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) staff are working with the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange on options available to continue this service. A report will be considered at an RDN board meeting soon.
Draft documents for the 2018-2022 Financial Plan
A Message from the CAO (pdf)
2018-2022 Financial Plan - Corporate Services (pdf)
2018-2022 Financial Plan - Human Resources (pdf)
2018-2022 Financial Plan - Community Development (pdf)
2018 - 2022 Financial Plan - Legislative Services (pdf)
2018 - 2022 Financial Plan - Public Works (pdf)
2018 - 2022 Financial Plan - Water Resources (pdf)
2018-2022 Financial Plan - Engineering (pdf)
2018-2022 Financial Plan - Fire Rescue (pdf)
2018 - 2022 Financial Plan - Protective Services (pdf)
2018 - 2022 Financial Plan - Parks and Recreation (pdf)