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Free lunch over, Victoria councillors ready for first brown-bag meeting

Apr 05 2012

As Victoria councillors hunker down for a day of committee meetings today, the city's new nofreelunch policy comes into play.

"I intend to bring one of my many lunch boxes to work," said Coun. Marianne Alto, who spearheaded the move to have catered committee meetings eliminated as part of cost-cutting initiatives.

"I tried to find my Wonder Woman lunch box, but I couldn't - it's in the garage somewhere."

Alto did, however, find an old Spider-Man one.

"It has on the bottom of it a phrase which I think is hilarious. It says: 'With great power comes great responsibility.' So I think I'll bring that one," she said.

Thursdays are usually busy for councillors and senior staff as meetings can see some them in session from 9 a.m. until late afternoon or evening.

Today, a weighty governance and priorities committee agenda is bound to keep councillors in the chamber well into the afternoon. But unlike in the past, a lunch break has been scheduled.

Alto doesn't expect the break will add too much time to the day given that council is used to breaking to eat a catered lunch.

"I don't think it's going to take any more time for us to go out and get our lunch and come back in," she said. "I'm hoping that people won't take extra time to order food somewhere. I'm hoping they will have thought ahead, like most everyone else does in the workplace, and have either packed their lunch or have had something delivered."

Councillors agreed to eliminate the catering of committee meetings to cut costs. The measure is expected to save about $12,000 a year.

The 2012 budget will see a tax increase of 3.25 per cent, down from the 4.7 per cent originally projected.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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