The FOI regarding the details surrounding Vancouver Council's inaugural bash are now in, and we can confirm that excluding staff time, overtime plus the cost of Vancouver Police and paramedics on site during the event, the City budgeted a grand total of $92,130 to host the event. The final expenditure was $84,198.55.
If Mayor Robertson had followed the lead of Mayor Dianne Watts and held his inaugural ceremony at City Hall, it would have cost taxpayers no more than $24,300. That decision cost City taxpayers approximately $60,000 tax dollars. This is money that could have otherwise been invested in City programs and services for the public.
With the Mayor of Coquitlam was advising his staff to tighten their belts, on the other end of Metro Vancouver Mayor Robertson was ordering staff to throw a lavish party at the Sunset Community Centre.
According to City records, here is what the Vision Council budgeted for the inaugural party outside City Hall:
- $1000 for the official 'Host City Team Uniforms"
- $3000 to record the momentous event on GVTV, that way we can watch this expensive event again
- $1000 for walkie talkies
- $22,500 for a backdrop and stage banners
- $12,000 for catering (a total of $25K was spent on hors d'oeuvres)
- $1,500 on entertainment
- $5,000 on furniture rental
- $1000 for a poinsettia rack
- $1000 for transportation (have they not heard of cabs?)
- $500 for Park Rangers (huh?)
- $500 for Concord Security
There is a clear disconnect between what Vision felt was an appropriate expense for this event, and what the average Vancouver taxpayer might be willing to pay regardless of the economic slump we're in. It sends a signal that Vision doesn't understand that the hard times have arrived.