I am very grateful for the opportunity to write a column for the Creston Valley Advance this month. I am very excited that the Advance has given this opportunity to me and that my fellow council members let me volunteer for this month.
I was very humbled this past election when the wonderful Creston residents voted me in as a town councillor. I have wanted to serve the community as a political leader for many years. I can’t specifically pin down a date of when I developed this urge to do more, but much of it could be attributed to my superb parents, Paige and Laurie Boehmer, who have taught me to always go the extra mile. I also drew inspiration from my grandfather, Bill Herchmer. He was a councillor for the Town of Creston for 11 years, retiring from politics in 1993. My parents named me after my grandfather; my middle name is William (Kevin is not short for Bill). My mother, Laurie, and Aunt Carol Huscroft continually tell me how much I remind them of their father, Bill. Usually with regards to, in my own words, “being financially savvy,” but they more than likely call it “being cheap.”
I feel very proud to walk into council chambers, past pictures of my grandpa and the many other men and women that have served the community so well. I caught myself looking for his picture once again this past week as I attended my council meetings, feeling a wonderful connection. I found it, just in case you were wondering. My grandfather passed away some years ago, and a couple of weeks ago I received his old briefcase, yellow comb and all, from my step-grandmother Vera Herchmer. It was a very wonderful experience.
While I believe it is very important to have a connection to our history and our past, it is with an eye towards the future that I sit in council with six other qualified individuals, as well as some top notch staff. Being on council has opened my eyes to many things, such as the immense amount of meetings that we as councillors attend. I have also been awestruck with the professional staff that the Town of Creston has the honor of employing. The staff has shown a great knowledge base in helping us, as a council, plan for the future.
We have been deep into budget preparation lately, and trying to effectively allocate our scarce resources. It is a tall task to ensure that everything is looked after, as well as building up suitable reserves for the future. That is one thing that many people have a hard time with; at some point we will need to replace infrastructure, whether it is 20 years or 50 years down the road. No pun intended. Infrastructure is consequently very expensive to maintain and replace, so there is a great importance to have money set aside each year for this.
As a council, our goal is to ensure that the Town of Creston is a business friendly environment, while also maintaining our lovely, laidback, rural lifestyle. This is something that we are trying to ensure is included in the budget process and one of our focuses this year. We have set aside some time in the near future to strategize as a council our priorities for this four-year term that we have embarked upon.
I feel very confident with the current council members and have been impressed with their keen observations and quality discussion. There hasn’t been much of what I would call lively debate yet, but all of us feel confident enough to engage in lively debate if needed. The atmosphere surrounding council is very open for different ideas and perspectives. Town manager Lou Varela many times has spoken to us as a council to ensure that we feel comfortable expressing our thoughts and opinions. I was going to write “our lovely town manager”, but I didn’t want to come across as sexist. Politics is very interesting.
Kevin Boehmer is a chartered accountant in his first term on town council.