Let the budget talks begin

We hope council asks many questions before approval of budget requests.

Last Monday’s initial budget deliberations by Keremeos Village Council proved to be a good example of the old adage that says, “old habits die hard.”

It was only a preliminary budget report, but to the few observers in the gallery, it seemed obvious that business as usual in the public sector means playing by a different set of rules than those that exist in the private world.

To some extent, we can accept that fact; governments are mandated to provide certain services and levels of service that would usually be totally discretionary in the private sector.

But that still shouldn’t stop council from taking a closer look at the beans.

Take, for example, two operating budget requests delivered on Monday, one of which still must be decided, the other to which council gave the green light to:

– a request for budget funds to upgrade a part time worker to full time in order to hire someone “who can take on much of the higher level learning and therefore become a key piece of the succession plan.”

The request would presumably be to train someone to take on the CAO’s position, who is very close to retirement.

One has to ask: How complicated is it to run the Village of Keremeos? We’d bet there are businesses in Penticton that are more complicated to run than the village – how difficult can it possibly be to find someone to replace an outgoing CAO in small town B.C.?

We hope council asks that question before approval of the budget request.

The other request involves utilizing Strategic Community Investment Funds to upgrade village assets to a new key fob system which will eliminate the need to re-key locks if keys are lost – at a cost of $12,722.

That’ll buy a lot of replacement keys,  – something, by the way, that a council member pointed out at the meeting – but  oddly enough, council passed that request without any further ado.


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