Compromise on shared-service budgets

By ROY WOOD

Councillor Dave Mattes didn’t get the oversight of shared-service budgets he was hoping for, but he got the rest of council to agree that it should at least see the budgets before they go to the RDOS.

In a notice of motion submitted in September, Mattes sought a council policy to ensure all joint-service budgets come to Oliver council “for discussion, change (if necessary) and approval.”

At issue are the budgets of the Parks and Recreation Society, the Heritage Society and the Frank Venables Theatre, which are jointly funded between the town and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.

A report to council two weeks ago from chief administrative officer Cathy Cowan pointed out that council doesn’t have the authority to “amend other budgets.” It became clear at that meeting that Mattes didn’t have the support of other councillors for the motion and it was sent back to staff for more work.

On Monday, little had changed and Mattes seemed ready to abandon the motion altogether. But when Councillors Petra Veintimilla and Larry Schwartzenberger both indicated an appetite for some sort of part-way measure, a compromise emerged.

A motion directing staff to “communicate with shared-service organizations that the town receive budget information and presentations prior to submission to the RDOS,” was unanimously approved by council.

As part of the same discussion, Cowan told council that the bylaws of the Frank Venables Theatre Society prohibit council from appointing a member to its board. She said that in order to be eligible for gaming grants from the province the society’s board must comprise only democratically elected members.

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