Comment: The numbers tell the story in Greater Victoria
A comment from the outgoing president of Grumpy Taxpayer $ of Greater Victoria, a citizens’ advocacy group for municipal taxpayers.
The words of Pythagoras, an ancient Greek Ionian philosopher and alleged vegetarian, still live for a few thousand years or so after suggesting that numbers rule the universe.
While uncertain about it, Grumpy Taxpayer $ understands the concern with numbers, as we aim to present quality information and factual perspectives to our readers.
Here are some of the most fascinating municipal numbers we’ve come across recently.
2.35. Overall, in 2019, Greater Victoria and other BC municipalities had a combined annual surplus of $ 2.35 billion. Since municipalities cannot run a deficit, this is largely due to setting aside money annually to fund capital projects. It will be a different story for 2020, not thanks to the pandemic.
3. It has been almost three years since a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada, was evacuated from Victoria City Hall in the wee hours of the morning on a Saturday morning. This sparked a firestorm that is still burning due to insufficient public consultation. The onsite plaque reads: “We will keep the public informed as the witness reconciliation program unfolds and we find a way to appropriately recontextualize Macdonald.”
• 7.8. The GDP of the Census Metropolitan Area of Victoria represents 7.8% of the provincial economy, compared to the Vancouver CMA, which accounts for 56% of our $ 260 billion economy in British Columbia, according to Statistics Canada (2017 ).
• 18.49. The percentage of eligible voters in Langford who voted in the last municipal election, the second lowest in the province, according to CivicInfo BC
• 21. According to the 2016 census, if Greater Victoria were made up of 100 people, there would be 21 people aged 65 and over, compared to 17 people in Canada.
• 23. The number of fire departments – paid, volunteer, or combined paid and volunteer – in the Capital Regional District. There are also 23 emergency plans and four fire dispatch centers, as well as seven police forces.
• 35. Percentage of respondents who see the cost of living and housing as the most important issues we face today, according to the Victoria Foundation’s 2020 Vital Signs report. Eight percent filed municipal mergers.
• 91. There are 91 locally elected officials in the Capital Region, compared to 26 for the City of Toronto, 27 Members of the Legislative Assembly in Prince Edward Island and 51 Council Members in New York. .
• 108. The new McLoughlin Point wastewater treatment plant in Esquimalt can treat 108 megaliters of wastewater per day – one metric unit of capacity equal to one million liters – at a tertiary level. It is one of the highest levels of treatment available. The last tab was $ 775 million, the largest capital project in the region’s history.
• 308. The municipal affairs operating budget will more than double from $ 148 million to $ 308 million this fiscal year and add an undisclosed number of employees. The provincial public service workforce, measured at 32,790 full-time equivalents in the last full year under the BC Liberals, is expected to reach 39,660 in 2021. This represents a 21% increase, according to the Vancouver Sun .
• 889. As of January 2020, there were 889 kilometers of cycle paths in the region, 58 percent on-road and 42 percent multi-use, according to the CRD.
• 1971. As one of Victoria’s oldest and most used recreational facilities, the Crystal Pool requires significant investment to meet current construction, system and accessibility standards. The planned replacement of the 50-year-old facility continues to make noise.
• 5,000. The additional dollar amount spent on toilet paper for the Oak Bay public park restrooms during last year’s pandemic.
• 35,195. The number of referendum voters in Victoria and Saanich who voted in favor of a citizens’ assembly in 2018 to study the unification of the two largest municipalities in Greater Victoria.
• $ 278,781. The highest-paid local government official in the region – including employer-funded benefits – is the head of administration in Saanich, according to the annual statement of financial information (2019). The Prime Minister earns $ 209,945.
• 378,172. The program manager for the central zone wastewater treatment project was paid very well by the CRD, exceeding all local government contracts in 2019.
• 425,503. This is the Capital Regional District estimate of the Capital Region population including Gulf Islands and electoral districts, updated in March.
• 30,600,037,888. The City of Victoria’s assessed value in 2021 includes approximately $ 24 billion in residential properties and $ 6 billion in commercial properties.
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