Council voted to cancel most of the last council meeting, because too many of them were sick. Deputy Mayor Anne Barr and Councillor Victor Suthren each sent their regrets and were not in attendance at the meeting. Mayor David Nash was present at the beginning of the meeting, but announced that he would be leaving once anything pressing had been discussed. Even though they had quorum, many did not feel comfortable going ahead with the meeting, specifically since an item on the Agenda was budget discussions, with so much of council being absent.
It was the Mayor’s recommendation that they discuss the budget briefly, and hear a report regarding the Police Services Board, and one about future remuneration for Mayor and Council, about all of which the Mayor had comments to make. The Police Services Board report recommends that the Board meet quarterly, rather than monthly, as per the requirements of the Police Services Act. They wished to save time for staff, and money for the municipality. The report regarding council remuneration suggests that the method by which Mayor and Council is paid be changed, with a base rate given, plus another $50 for every council meeting they attend. Should they attend all meetings, their honorarium would remain the same. It was also suggested that the rate of pay be raised by 2%, to take into consideration the rise in the cost of living. This would leave the Mayor’s honorarium at $12,635.84, with Councillors being paid $9,627.24 each in 2018.
In the end, it was decided that council would only address the in-camera business, and leave the rest, including the discussion about the 2018 operating budget, to another meeting. CAO John Regan says that cancelling most of the meeting means that there will likely be a delay in finalizing the budget. He says staff will continue to work on streamlining the budget, looking for efficiencies and savings, while waiting for further direction from council. Council did meet on Monday, December 18, at a meeting called specifically to continue budget discussions. This meeting was already on the calendar before the previous week’s meeting was cancelled.
It is possible that council will call an extra meeting sometime between now and the next regular council meeting on January 8, to make up for lost time. John says that if a special meeting is not called, the meeting on January 8 will be very heavy, as the budget will be on the agenda, as well as what was not discussed at last week’s meeting. Council cancels meeting