Creston Town Council passed a statutory Five-Year Financial Plan (2017-2021) during the regular April 11 meeting, but not without a dissenting vote from Couns. Kevin Boehmer.
Boehmer said proposed property tax increases in future years “seem a little high”, then added that he was in agreement with major project spending plans. He did not make any suggestions about how to reduce the increases, but acknowledged that the document is a guideline and that the council of the day discusses each year’s budget on its own merits.
In other Council news:
• Council will discuss its meeting times in August, after a new councillor is sworn in to replace the late Joe Snopek. Boehmer raised the issue, suggesting that the 4 p.m. start time for regular council meetings is an impediment that might be preventing people with day jobs to consider running for town council positions.
“This won’t necessarily affect attendance by the public,” he said, adding that the issue does not affect him personally, as his work schedule at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook allows him to attend 4 p.m. meetings.
Of all the municipal councils in the East and Central Kootenays, Boehmer said, only one (Sparwood) holds a regular afternoon meeting, and that is once a month at 1 p.m. All others meet at either 6 or 7 p.m.
“I believe changing to evenings has the potential to encourage others to run,” he said.
Coun. Karen Unruh said that she was the only councillor in favour of a 6 p.m. start when she was elected. “But I have adjusted to the 4 p.m. time,” she added.
Toyota said he is an early riser and prefers meetings that aren’t in the evening.
Couns. Jen Comer served up a reminder that council meetings aren’t the only obligations for elected officials.
“Many committee meetings are held in the daytime,” she said. “If you want to fully participate, those would still be a challenge. This is part of the job.”
“Council should put it out that we will address the issue after the by-election and at the beginning of each term,” Toyota said.
“I’m okay at having a look at this when a new councillor is elected,” Boehmer agreed.
• Colin Farynowski, director of engineering services, and Mayor Ron Toyota, will represent Creston on the RDCK resource recovery plan advisory committee.
• Council received a letter from Vernon mayor Akbal Mund, advising about an ePetition to stop the federal government from charging Goods and Services Tax on existing and future carbon taxes.
• Coun. Jim Elford thanked the Cyclone Taylor Cup committee for their work in making the provincial Junior B hockey championships a great success.
“This was a huge economic benefit and I have received great feedback about it,” he said.
Council will send a letter of thanks to the committee.