Thursday, May 9, 2013
And it's over to you Council...
A well attended Public Forum on Wednesday night, offered up many thoughts on the topic of budgetary concern, but few if any actual suggestions for Prince Rupert City Council to take back into Chambers later tonight.
The Public Forum on Budget issues played to a rather large crowd at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre on Wednesday, as interested Rupertites sat attentively as Dan Rodin outlined the nature of the Budget situation as it is today and then as a number of speakers took to the microphones to offer their suggestions.
Though in more than a few cases the suggestions, seemed more inclined towards the realm of statements.
The local media reviews have been posted to the usual portals, CFTK TV with a short item posted to their website (hopefully the video report will be posted later today).
An account of the night that outlines a perceived takeaway point that several participants voiced displeasure at the prospect of a two per cent tax increase, though to the ears of the CFTK reporter "most" said that they were willing to pay more, if it meant saving municipal jobs.
Lots of Input, No Consensus on Balancing Prince Rupert's Budget
PR Budget Public Meeting (video)
The CBC's Daybreak North discussed the topic in the course of their morning programming, however has not yet provided an update on the story to their website.
The first media outlet with a review of the Public Forum was The Northern View, which posted both an article and a video to their website late last night.
Prince Rupert Residents talk budget with council
That article provided a good account of the nights proceedings as well as a number of high profile quotes from a number of forum participants, but perhaps could have used a little helpful background for the folks at home, as to some of the talking points from some of the participants.
Michelle Montemurro, outlined how she would rather pay $32 or $50 dollars more per year to have city workers keep their jobs, left unsaid in the article however, is the advisory/disclaimer that she is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Civic Workers CUPE local 105 in town.
Calvin Thompson was quoted in the article as speaking in favour of ensuring that services such as the library and civic centre remain in place, advising that people won't come to a community that does not have functioning services.
While expressing his thoughts as a resident of the city, it should be noted that he is a member of the Prince Rupert Fire Department and a member of the Fire Fighters local, so ensuring that any civic services remain in place, would we imagine, be a concern of the membership.
All of which is background that perhaps would have been helpful as to understanding those points of view.
A quick scan of that Northern View video does suggest that CUPE's call for support from Wednesday (which we outlined on the blog yesterday) clearly resonated among the labour population in the community, with a fairly good turnout from local members of the union movement in the City in attendance.
Other contributors on the night, tackled the nature of the challenge ahead for Council.
Tony Briglio, offered up a number of points of interest, in particular speaking out against any job cuts at this time. However, missing from the article was a reminder that he is a past City Councillor, when perhaps some of the groundwork for his ideas could have been placed in motion.
The head of the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce, provided the obligatory and expected outlook from the commercial and business sector, but did offer up perhaps one of the best quotes on the night, advising Council that they are "elected to make decisions, not to defer them"
And finally, Don Scott the former Mayor of the City provided the best synopsis of the night, from the Northern View's video he highlights the late nature of the Public Forum and the volume of information provided to the public with the clock ticking.
Holding the handout from the City and waving it towards the Councillors and Mayor in attendance, he didn't sound very impressed with the City's time management skills when it comes to consulting the public on such a vital issue of concern.
Wednesday night making for a rather late presentation opportunity for the public to review, arriving as we have at a point where the City has only one week to finalize its budget issues.
Council will review whatever they gleaned from last night's public forum, meeting again in Council chambers at 7 PM this evening, where perhaps they will put the process in motion towards adopting the budget, choosing from one of the three options that soon to be departing CFO Dan Rodin has provided for them.
Unless things change between now and tonight's session, this review of the options ahead will prove to be their map for this years Budget situation, which path they take will be well worth watching.
Though one thing seems certain from all three of the options, taxpayers will once again, be digging a little deeper once the Budget is proclaimed by May 15th.
The City has posted an audio archive of the Wednesday evening public forum to its website
It runs for one hour and forty two minutes, you can listen to the night's discussion points here.
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