Council is calling for another expensive report from staff on cost-cutting. Here are 10 free tips from CityCaucus.com for immediate action
We continue to hold out hope that Vancouver's rookie Mayor and Councillors will come up with substantive ideas on how to govern the City during tough economic times. So far we've had PR and motions written on the back of a napkin.
Turning the question back to staff for yet another report on spending is not only expensive in terms of their time, but also the delay in approving and implementing any cost saving measures. In response CityCaucus.com is coming to the rescue of Vancouver taxpayers with our Ten Tips to Save the City Bucks! Some of these items will only save a few thousand, some much more, but they will demonstrate leadership during the economic slump. Here's our list:
- Put an immediate freeze on the Mayor's office budget for three years. Mayor Robertson has increased the size of his political staff when compared to the past Sullivan and Campbell administrations. A more prudent course would be to live within the same dollars allotted to previous mayor's offices.
- Commit to a salary freeze for all City Councillors for 2 years. No one is expecting Vancouver's economy to improve much before 2011.
- Place a one-year freeze on all discretionary travel. No junkets, no unnecessary trips outside the city paid for by taxpayers.
- Put an immediate spending limit on all hosted catered events. The City of Vancouver spends a TON on food and beverages for events that could either be reduced or ended outright.
- Eliminate the gourmet dinners & lunches prepared for City Councillors during public meetings, and return to a more modest "bag lunch" style of meal.
- Enforce the practice of shutting down all computers and unused lights throughout City Hall. During last Spring's Earth Day lights out event this proved to be a worthwhile cost saving measure. The City should be an example to us all.
- Eliminate monthly car allowance and provide monthly single-zone transit passes for all elected officials (reminder to Mayor Robertson, be sure to upgrade when visiting Burnaby)
- Reduce the amount of paper printing in reports. Entire forests go into photocopying at City Hall. Find reasons to end this now.
- Relax garbage collection schedules for residences while maintaining recycling pick-up. CUPE's 2007 garbage strike taught us we can live with less service. It's time to act on this now.
- Survey all city employees on ways they could reduce spending by 2%. The best ideas will come from Vancouver's rank and file civil service on ways to reduce spending. Post their input on the City's website, and act on these recommendations as soon as possible.
By moving on these and other measures immediately, it will send an important signal to Vancouver taxpayers that this Council is serious about controlling spending. Burning up valuable time with reports and more talk will do precisely the opposite.