EDITORIAL – City council’s budget wish list looks like a multiple choice test

Crosswalk upgrade at Summit and Robson. (Image: City of Kamloops)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE’S AN OLD STRATEGY for getting the right answer from your boss. Whenever he or she wants you to craft a plan for how to do something or when you just have a good idea, you come up with three options for consideration.

One, the idea you like, will sound irresistible. Then you add two more options that are less attractive and possibly more expensive but, they’re options nonetheless.

I confess I employed the tactic on an occasion or two when I was a working man. Obviously, City Hall bureaucracy is conversant with the strategy.

At tomorrow’s committee of the whole meeting, City councillors will get a new look at the annual supplementary budget-items list. There are 15 proposals on it.

Council must decide not only on priorities, but on options within those priorities.

For example, one item involves swapping the three mountain bikes used by the Community Services Division — formerly Bylaw Services — for e-bikes.

One option is the status quo, which sounds unappealing. A second is to ditch the bike patrols. Horrors. And the third is to buy e-bikes, which would boost visibility, be more sustainable and get rid of the need to truck the bikes to where the patrols are being done.

Another item involves crosswalk upgrades. Which would you rather do: nothing, which would mean some crosswalks would be out of compliance with current regulations; use depleted Community Works Funds; or add to the transportation safety fund and get the job done?

Here’s one more example. Shall we a) do nothing about the over-crowded, worse-for-wear RCMP detachment building, b) spend $48 million or so on a new building, or c) spend $8 to $10 million to upgrade the existing one?

Still, it won’t be easy, since council has vowed to keep the overall budget increase as close to zero per cent as possible. We’ll soon find out how good council is at governing by multiple choice.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8896 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – City council’s budget wish list looks like a multiple choice test

  1. I would like to see the report promised but “still haven’t see it” about the millions in saved staff time to justify the procurement policies which basically guarantee the lion share of the work done outside of CUPE to a few choice contractors, less than one handful actually. Because you see dear editor, it is not that we may need an upgrade to the RCMP building or to the very many badly built sidewalks because we do (also that they could’ve been built better to start with but that is another story). But it is important to be fully accountable for the way they spend other people’ money they already have. Oh and by the way the e-bikes can wait. Use the one they got for now and work on improving the physical performance of the operators. A win-win strategy!

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