Shine a spotlight on Capital Regional District – In this the 50th anniversary since the formation of the CRD, Grumpy$ is scrutinizing the organization with the view of trying to improve its communications, governance, accountability, and democratic principles.

We are lobbying the media to focus on the CRD. We are urging the community to hold a conference this year to review the past, present and future of the CRD. We are suggesting the CRD lobby for membership in the Big City Mayor’s caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to better access federal infrastructure grants and garner a stronger voice around the table on urban issues.

Institute zero-based budgeting – Advocate that the Capital Regional District and the 13 local jurisdictions institute or run a pilot project using zero-based budgeting to help control municipal costs to the taxpayer.

Advantages to zero-based budgeting include: “Efficient allocation of resources, as it is based on needs and benefits rather than history. Drives managers to find cost effective ways to improve operations. Detects inflated budgets. Increases staff motivation by providing greater initiative and responsibility in decision-making. Increases communication and coordination within the organization. Identifies and eliminates wasteful and obsolete operations. Identifies opportunities for outsourcing. Forces cost centers to identify their mission and their relationship to overall goals. Facilitates more effective delegation of authority.”

It’s argued that zero-based budgeting helps in identifying areas of wasteful expenditure, and if desired, can also be used for suggesting alternative courses of action. It’s a weary taxpayer’s dream scenario to help contain municipal costs.

Eliminate tax-free allowance – We urge local jurisdictions – the City of Victoria is the only one to date – to eliminate the tax-free allowance provided for under Revenue Canada legislation. In our view it hides and distorts for the public the income and travel expenses given to municipal politicians. It also makes a public already cynical about politicians, even more so.

Monitor expenditures of wastewater treatment project – For several years the divisive issue of wastewater treatment has preoccupied politicians and the Greater Victoria community. Grumpy Taxpayer$ has committed to bird-dogging the dollar numbers and costs with the hope of adding some fiscal reality to the issue.

Improve economic indicators of Vital Signs – Vital Signs is a high-quality and revealing annual report that profiles the community that’s published by the Victoria Family Foundation. Grumpy Taxpayer$, which is pro business and economic development and which wants to foster systemic changes, has committed to helping to improve and expand the economic indicators contained in that report. Vital Signs is a key document used by local decision-makers.