News at 11

City of Parksville move set to cost taxpayers an extra $3,000 per year

It’s too bad the City of Parksville’s new Internet broadcasting company probably won’t be able to go back in time and include the deliberations the council has had over their contract.

If they could, citizens will be able to see how trying to make a request for proposals more local-business-friendly will cost taxpayers an extra $3,000 per year.

It’s especially galling when the city sets out specific requirements and no local company can provide those services. The city had to learn this three times before finally accepting a price that had inflated from $5,000 to $8,000 per year, over the course of council manhandling of the issue.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to buy local first. That should be any municipal government’s policy. But for some things, it simply isn’t possible. After all, there aren’t many Parksville-based fire truck manufacturers, for example. And in this case, there isn’t anyone who can provide archive-able and searchable online databases of council meeting video.

It’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but we can blame councillors for taking this back to the table three times and driving up the price. No doubt, they ticked off some of the companies bidding on the contract, so good will on a bottom line all but evaporated.

In a small sense, the time it takes councils to make such decisions have a direct impact on the cost of projects they hope to undertake. Taxpayers can only hope staff does its job well enough to ensure city hall is asking the right questions and getting what they need — for the right price — when they draw up proposals. Then, it’s up to council to debate it and vote on it. Each step has the potential to bog down — and again, drive up the costs.

Councillor Al Greir is wrong when he says no one will want to watch city hall’s antics.

When seemingly small budget items jump in price significantly, thanks to council bungling, taxpayers should be watching their every move.




– editorial by Steven Heywood