Some Notes on Nanaimo’s 2011 Annual Report to be presented Monday, June 18, 4:30pm at the Shaw Auditorium

Ron Bolin: June 14, 2012

This coming Monday, Nanaimo citizens who are able to make a meeting scheduled at 4:30 in the afternoon downtown in Nanaimo can bring their observations, concerns and kudos on one of the City’s most significant documents to their Council in open meeting.  The document under discussion is one of the most important documents which the City produces.  It summarizes the City’s journey from it statements of objectives through its services offered, its revenues and expenses, our population and infrastructure growth, and their evaluation for the year 2011, including pointers through it to both past and future.

The document itself is available to be viewed at City Hall in Legislative Services between 8:30am and 4:30pm or is available online at the City’s web site at:

I have been informed that a printed copy of the 122 page document is not available, even at cost.

The information contained within is generally not difficult to read and is presented with many graphs and tables of financial data as well as departmental objectives and performance measurements.  While it is not what one could call a fun read, almost any page can inform, inspire or incense.

A comparison with the 2004 Annual Report is in order, though in fact there is little to compare.  The only financial detail in the 2004 report was the number and sum of Permissive Property Tax exemptions in 2003. A comparison of this sum with that in the 2011 Report shows a 65% increase in the exemptions granted by Council.  Other than this the document advises that: The City of Nanaimo has prepared audited financial statements which were approved by Council on May 3, 2004. These statements are available on request at the City offices”.   These statements were used in this examination.

Diane Brennan is the only sitting Councillor to appear in both the 2004 and 2011 reports.

The 2004 document provides no details about City operations and was only 16 pages long.  It did provide the results of an Ipsos Reid poll of citizens regarding satisfaction with City services.  Telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample of 300 residents of the City aged 18 and older. Respondents were asked to rate the overall quality of life in the City of Nanaimo.

  • 94% of respondents rated quality of life as either “good” or “very good”.  Over 41% gave it a “very good” rating.
  • 85% of respondents said they received “good value” for their tax dollars.  
  • 92% of those surveyed were satisfied with the “overall level and quality of services provided by the City of Nanaimo”.

One can only speculate on the results of a similar poll held today.

Comparative Overview 2004-2011:  (Please interpolate the spacing of the figures)

2004                     2011                    Increase

Population                                   78,271                  84,228                 +7.6%

Property Taxes ($)          57,992,570          83,876,786         +44.6%

Debt                                        16,672,712           35,193,419                +211%

Net Financial Assets       74,962,054          62,990,577           -20%

Non-Financial Assets     534,952,626      558,069,334           +4.3%

# Staff at $75000+                                    51                            176            +345%

Total $75000+ payroll        4,582,826        16,771,658            +366%

Tax Exemptions (perm)         782,454             1,289,639           +64.8%

Total Remuneration          30,900,307         51,532,550          +166.7%

Inflation 2004-2011                                                                                     +12.3%

So much for this evening.   More tomorrow on other aspects of the Report.