The Grumpy Taxpayer$ gave the City of Colwood first place in its annual Candy Cane Awards. Oak Bay and Victoria also received bags of candy canes. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Colwood tops Grumpy Taxpayer$ 2019 Candy Cane Awards

Yearly awards for improved governance go to Colwood, Oak Bay, Victoria

Colwood claims top spot in the Candy Cane Awards, the end-of-year accolades handed out by The Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.

This year’s winner is the City of Colwood, with the District of Oak Bay coming in second place and the City of Victoria taking third. Each municipality receives a box of candy canes in “glittering red presentation bags with red ribbons.”

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

The Grumpy Taxpayer$ is a non-profit citizen group that works to hold municipal politicians and municipalities accountable in an effort get better value for municipal taxes. According to the advocacy group, the Candy Cane Awards recognize work to improve local governance by “utilizing long-term planning to renew infrastructure, engaging taxpayers and improving transparency.”

The grumpy group gave Colwood the top spot for 2019 for its focus on “long-term planning for infrastructure” such as roads, sewers, fire halls and recreation facilities.

“It’s very unusual for any municipality to take a long term, detailed look at infrastructure costs for the next 50 years,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$. “But, staff at the City of Colwood – in a award-winning report entitled Sustainable Infrastructure Replacement Plan 2019-2068 – did just that.”

Oak Bay took home the second for “developing an interactive budgeting tool to help engage residents in budget planning” while facing significant property tax increases.

Aging infrastructure led to a 7.34 per cent tax hike in 2019, but the District’s budgeting tool gave residents a voice in changes to specific services such as policing or road maintenance.

READ ALSO: Taxpayer watchdog treats Victoria to candy cane awards

The City of Victoria received its candy canes for “taking a leadership role in transparency and open government.” The Grumpy Taxpayer$ applaud the City’s ‘council dashboard,’ an online tool that gives residents insight into how their councillors voted on particular motions – or if they even attended the meeting.

The group also make mention of the Capital Regional District’s new ‘Board Highlight Report,’ a soon-to-be-available email summary of progress on issues, activities and decisions made at the CRD.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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