The Town of Osoyoos wants to know what you think about adding two additional councillors to its Council — or more specifically how you feel about it spending $50,000 to accomplish that.
The Town has added a poll question to its website, asking users “Should the Town add $50,000 to its annual budget for two additional members of Council?”
That action follows discussion yesterday as Council hunkered down for its annual budget retreat, going project by project through the 2018 Operating and Capital budgets and Five-Year Plan.
“We had quite a conversation about that,” said Mayor Sue McKortoff. “We do have all kinds of varying views on it and varying thoughts.
“We’ve all got slightly different ideas.”
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 review of Council minutes over 2017 shows of the 30 regular and special meetings held, 11 (or 37 percent) were conducted with at least one Council member absent.
On five of those occasions, two members were absent.
Council would have to pass a bylaw no later than April 20, 2018, to increase the number for 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.
Mayor McKortoff said the Council-size discussion was forwarded for open debate at Council’s January 15 meeting.
“By that time we can think about it, think about what other people’s ideas are, what their thoughts are and maybe have a better look at it,” she explained.