Grumpy Taxpayer$ Chair Stan Bartlett addresses a room of fellow taxpayers at the group’s annual general meeting Wednesday evening at the Greater Victoria Public Library. The group is still pushing for accountability, transparency and action from local governments. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Grumpy Taxpayer$ Chair Stan Bartlett addresses a room of fellow taxpayers at the group’s annual general meeting Wednesday evening at the Greater Victoria Public Library. The group is still pushing for accountability, transparency and action from local governments. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Grumpy Taxpayer$ keep an eye on infrastructure spending, government transparency

Non-profit group determines 2020 priorities in annual general meeting

They might be grumpy, but the members of a local ‘citizen’s advocacy group’ remain motivated.

The Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria held its annual general meeting at the downtown public library Wednesday night, reviewing the frustrations, challenges and accomplishments of the region’s municipal governments over the past year.

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria drivers can vote on the bumpiest road in the area

Chair Stan Bartlett says the non-profit has the same goals it always has: more accountability and transparency from local governments.

“We find that virtually all issues come back to what we think is a broken and dysfunctional government system,” Bartlett says. “By that I mean the 17 jurisdictions, 13 municipalities, three electoral districts and the Capital Regional District (CRD).”

Bartlett says the Grumpy Taxpayer$ have always taken the position that amalgamation should be studied closely and any changes made using evidence-based decisions.

“It’s hard to find efficiency with five police departments, parks departments…” Bartlett says. “Certainly, councils are very reluctant to change the status quo. We have 94 politicians in the region, getting wages and prestige, why would they rock the boat?” Bartlett also has concerns about rising property taxes and police spending.

In the last year though, the ‘grumpy’ group has praised what it believes to be some some positive steps in the right direction. Those steps include the CRD’s new regular highlights report, which gives the public accessible entry points to background information on the latest decisions and changes in the region. Bartlett also praises the City of Victoria’s public dashboard, a program started in July that offers easy public access to council voting records.

READ ALSO: Grumpy Taxpayers criticize Saanich police request for five per cent budget increase

Heading into 2020, the biggest priorities include: Scrutinizing major budgets, improving transparency and reviewing infrastructure upgrades and spending.

Bartlett calls the group “exceedingly optimistic” for tackling the issues at all.

“Local governance is improving, but it’s at a slow pace,” he says. “The roads, the sewers, all that boring stuff is really, really important. It’s very complicated, its very fragmented and because its an older area things fall apart. The infrastructure needs here are great, we can’t just close our eyes and not fix the road.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

North Saanich has received a report from the Urban Development Institute calling on the municipality to expand and densify its housing options in the face of demographic and environmental changes as the municipality continues its Official Community Plan review. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich asked to create more affordable, diverse housing

Urban Development Institute says community faces demographic, environmental challenges

The orange parcel was bought by the CRD for $1.1 million to add to Mount Work Regional Park. (CRD map)
Capital Regional District expands Mount Work land for $1.1 million

Privately-owned 13.8 hectares in the Highlands is ecologcically valuable

One woman has been arrested in connection with a drug trafficking investigation. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria woman arrested, car and drugs seized during trafficking investigation

Multiple units combine forces for investigation, arrest

Dog trainer Sharon Labossiere at play with her dogs. AnimalKind, the BC SPCA’s animal welfare accreditation and referral program, has granted accreditation to Sooke's Hanging with Hounds. (Contributed - BC SPCA)
Hanging With Hounds digs its paws into AnimalKind accreditation

Local dog trainer earns special BC SPCA status

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Royal Bay pride crosswalk restored following graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Colwood high school

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

More “strings of lights” were seen on May 15, 2021, in night sky over Vancouver Island. (File photo)
Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Nathan Zuk had left his mother’s residence in Whaletown on Cortes Island in mid-December 2020 in a 14’ skiff rowboat and headed to an unknown location near the Pryce Channel, Deer passage, or Toba Inlet. Photo courtesy RCMP
RCMP need help finding man who set off from Cortes Island in 14-foot rowboat

Nathan Zuk left in December, may have been last seen in Toba Inlet approximately three weeks ago

Emergency service workers at the collision scene along Highway 4 in Hilliers on Sunday, May 16. A motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital by BC Air Ambulance and later died. (Collin C photo)
UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies from injuries sustained in Mid-Island highway collision

BC Highway Patrol says impairment not a contributing factor in crash

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Most Read