Mini mayor and council up taxes 15%

Students play mayor and council in budgeting exercise at Oak Bay municipal hall

Oak Bay Municipal Hall filled with mini mayors and mini councillors recently as Selkirk Montessori students tried their hand at budgeting.

Mayor Nils Jensen, who has been running these educational experiences for school groups annually since he took office as mayor, puts together a program for the students – sometimes it is a debate at council, other times it is the popular budgeting game.

The intent is to learn by doing and to have a little fun at the same time.

Tuesday’s exercise had seven students assigned as council, 10 as staff (sitting behind name plates just like the staff do), and the rest of the group as voters. They go through a scenario where they are given $100 of tax money and they have to decide how they would like to spend it.

“They are wonderfully engaged. They come up with incredible ideas,” says Jensen.

Mayor Jensen starts by asking the staff, such as the police officer, how much of the $100 they need. Then they go down the line of staff and invariably they run out of money before the end. Then the question arises – what should council do now?

“Yesterday was interesting, because the group in the morning said they weren’t going to raise taxes, where the group in the afternoon voted unanimously to raise taxes by 15 per cent,” says Jensen. While the mini citizens supported council’s decision to raise taxes by 15 per cent, Jensen noted that the parents sitting in the back of the room were less enthusiastic about such an increase.

At the end, there is always a discussion about what the students learned.

The general consensus is usually that being a mayor or council member is hard work with lots of difficult decisions to make.

“We just want to give so much money to so many good things, but there just isn’t that much money,” said one student.

It is a little slice of reality and it is a good way for students to learn about government. Mayor Jensen also discusses the responsibilities of local, provincial, and federal governments. The discussions usually expand to talk about the community, First Nations history, flora and fauna of the area, and other community related topics.

It is a fun and engaging way for students to gain insight into the inner workings of municipal politics.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Lost wedding ring found on Valentine’s Day

Dan Milbrath’s ring is back where it belongs

Runners invited to get set for the 40th annual Goodlife Marathon

More than 9,000 runners expected to pack Victoria streets in October

Victoria installation for the blind causes problems for those with mobility issues

The truncated domes installed at Blanshard and Fort streets aren’t helpful for everyone

Fire destroys South Island Concrete building in Sooke

No injuries resulted from large structure fire

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

Most Read