Online report an invitation to Town’s annual ‘celebration’

It was a day of celebration for the Town of Osoyoos Monday, with Mayor and Council and senior staff congratulating themselves — and the community they administer — as Osoyoos prepares for its 35th birthday.

You could almost have called the hour-long annual general meeting a love-in.

“As Mayor of the Town of Osoyoos, it is my great privilege to be associated with the Council and staff who are working so diligently to provide the best quality services to our residents, in a fiscally responsible manner,” said Mayor Sue McKortoff.

The messaging was basically the same from each of the four councillors, so much so that Mayor McKortoff’s “Can the rest of us just say ‘ditto’ to that then?” following Coun. Jim King’s round of gratitude actually made sense.

The AGM was an opportunity to espouse success, grit through the noted challenges and make promise of even better days ahead.

And if those involved are to be accused of conviviality and jollification, well, it’s only fair to suggest they earned that opportunity.

Over the last 30 months, I’ve sat in most Council meetings and listened as local issues were debated and resolved.

There were good moments when Council was able to celebrate an infrastructure success, report on exceptional work undertaken within a committee or deliver funding to community groups.

And, yes, there were more stressful times when the body of five had to reject a planning request or figure out what would have to be cut to make room for an expanded policing cost.

Through it all this Council has acted with decorum and dignity, a testament not only to a Mayor who wields a friendly but firm gavel — and sometimes a wand — but also to an administrative team that makes Council’s job much easier with the substantial support it provides.

It pains me to have such an intimate knowledge of the extensive body of work this Council and administration goes about and then to go home and read through berating comments served up by those who obviously have no understanding of municipal affairs beyond “it’s costing me money.”

Make no mistake about it: each of the Council members does this work on a part-time “salary” but the job they do goes far beyond the remuneration they receive.

It cannot be fun to put in that day’s work only to be hammered relentlessly by those who won’t make the time to really find out what’s going on.

Osoyoos is fortunate to have a number of media outlets that regularly cover and report Council proceedings. But even what we provide is capsulized and abridged. We pull highlights from a meeting, add what we hope is sufficient explanation and move on to the next issue.

But once a year, the Town provides you — as a ratepayer or resident — a little catch-up gift: its annual general report. Some of that report was read into the record Monday, but the largest part of it is available online.

It’s not scintillating reading, but it is informative. Much of it you can scan and browse.

Mayor McKortoff noted at Monday’s meeting “it sounds like we’ve done quite a lot when you’ve got it listed all there,” following CAO Barry Romanko’s report of accomplishments.

You can go through that listing yourself — and then come to your own conclusion about Council’s commitment to community.

You can download the annual general report here.

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