Osoyoos Council will look at a report Thursday that ponders adding two more to its number.
The report, included in the agenda for a special open budget discussion, follows a request from Council at a Strategic Priorities meeting last spring for Town staff to investigate the “costing of adding an additional two Councillors to Council.”
The Town currently has a five-member Council — a mayor and four councillors. Its limited size can be problematic if one or more councillors is absent, leaving as few as three Council members to conduct business.
A larger Council would also provide for more diverse representation.
“Over the years we’ve looked at the possibility of increasing the size of council,” said Mayor Sue McKortoff, explaining the Town has in the past fielded questions about decisions made by the bare quorum of three. “There was always the issue of is it better for us to increase the number of councillors. It’s worth looking at — I have no idea where it’s going to go.”
The Town of Osoyoos currently is in line with provincial Community Charter provisions, which sets out the number of councillors based on population.
However, Janette Van Vianen, the Town’s Director of Corporate Services, writes Council could, by bylaw, change that number.
Council would have to pass the bylaw to increase the number no later than April 20, 2018 — six months prior to the next General Election scheduled for October 20. The Town would also have to adjust its Council Procedure Bylaw.
Councillors currently receive a $16,543.08 stipend and benefits of $1,371.36. The Town also budgets $4,700 in travel and seminar expenses for each councillor.
For the existing five-member Council — not including the mayor — those costs total $90,457.76.
Adding two additional councillors would increase those costs by between $42,000 and $50,000, Ms. Van Vianan suggests in her report.
The Town budgets about $1.64 million in general government costs, meaning Council’s legislative portion is about eight percent of that total.
Council’s special open budget session is scheduled for 9 a.m. in Council chambers. Council will also have a look at the Town’s 2018 Operating Budget and Five-Year Capital/Project Plan.
“It’s our day-long budget process where we go through all the reports,” said Mayor McKortoff. “Where we look at what we want included in the budget and what we don’t want.”