Is the communications dept. bloated?
In light of collapsed revenues and a shattered local economy, Grumpy Taxpayer$ is calling on Victoria mayor and council to reassess its financial priorities starting with reallocating resources from its communications department.
The so-called ‘engagement department’ – most city halls simply call it the communications department – is budgeting $1.4 million and 11 staff this year. That’s far more dollars and staff than any comparable jurisdiction in either Greater Victoria and the Lower Mainland.
“Good governance demands that local governments reassess their budget priorities when there’s an economic crisis,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.
“Could annual savings of $700,000 from communications – $3.5 million over five years – be better spent on increased costs arising from COVID-19?
Could the money be better spent on rejuvenating small business and retail downtown? How can we better support the tourism industry following news the $130 million cruise ship season is cancelled? How could the money be better spent to rebuild the tax base?”
Taxpayers wonder why functions such as public outreach and open houses can’t be performed by the affected city departments as is the case in other municipalities, says Bartlett.
In Greater Victoria, the CRD and Saanich also manage significant communication budgets, as do multiple municipalities in the Lower Mainland:
Here’s how many communications staff are in every Metro Vancouver city, CBC, June 4, 2020.
City of Victoria to add 34 full-time workers as council considers budget: Coun. Young assails hiring surge, Times Colonist, Feb. 23, 2019.
Available for Media Interviews:
Stan Bartlett, Chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
John Treleaven, 1st Vice-chair, Grumpy Taxpayer$
250.656.7899, cell 250.588.7899