Local BudgetOn Monday City Council met for the day in open session to discuss the City’s priorities for the next three years. On April 26, Council unanimously passed a motion I brought forward, limiting tax increases to no more than 3.25% per year over the next three years. This translates into a cut to the City’s budget of $6 million. This is the point from which our discussions began on Monday. We’re limiting tax increases because we realize that residents and businesses are already paying what they can. In the interests of fiscal prudence and building a sustainable city for the long term, we’re getting our house in order now.

I asked staff for a quick turn around on our priority ranking because Gregor Cragie invited me to come On the Island this morning to speak about the session; I wanted to have the actual results, not just my memory of them. So here, for your consideration, is the raw data from our session on Monday. This document, Preliminary Priorities Ranking is where we ended up. And this document and Preliminary Priorities Scoring System is how we got there.

At the beginning of the day we had almost 100 items before us to rank. Each Councillor was given enough sticky notes to distribute across the priorities. We were asked to rank each initiative by whether we thought it was ‘an immediate priority’ (5 points) ‘within our three year term’ (4 points) ‘when resources are available’ (3 points) ‘defer to next council term’ (2 points) and ‘not to be considered at this time’ (1 point). The scores were then totaled, and the priorities ranked by total score.

Next steps are for City staff to cost out the priorities and bring them back for consideration by Council and the public. What are you willing to pay for? What are you willing to let go? What is your long term vision for the City and how do we act prudently and wisely now in order to steer the ship in the right direction and get the City there? Share your thoughts by emailing lisa@lisahelpsvictoria.ca and all councillors at councillors@victoria.ca.