All members of Cache Creek council except Coun. Lisa Dafoe were at the Committee of the Whole meeting which took place starting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10. The meeting began with CAO Martin Dalsin giving a summary of a meeting regarding economic development, where items such as developing a new economic development strategy and looking into funding for a social development and poverty reduction strategy were discussed.
Coun. Annette Pittman asked if there would be a written report and Dalsin said he had not felt such a report was necessary. Pittman moved that the information be put into a report, but the motion was not seconded and died on the floor.
Coun. Sue Peters, chair of the Budget and Administrative Services committee, noted the recent committee meeting on Jan. 31, where she and Coun. Wendy Coomber discussed a training budget and policy for council, and looked at examples from other municipalities. Peters explained that the next step would be having staff prepare a draft policy, to clarify such things as whether each council member would receive a budget for training on a per-year or per-term basis, or whether all members of council would continue to draw from a common training budget “pool”.
Coomber noted that going to conferences was how council members received training, and that establishing a policy would help members know how much they had so that they could identify training opportunities and book in advance, thus saving money on registration fees and hotel rooms.
She also noted that there was a lot of duplication on payment for meals, with the current system meaning that council members were reimbursed for meals that had already been paid for as part of the conference. Peters said that an option would be for council members to provide receipts and be reimbursed only on what they spent.
Coomber said that carpooling was an option, and Peters said that the per diems currently paid to make up for lost wages should be capped, and only paid upon presentation of proof of lost wages. “I don’t lose anything, so I don’t feel that I should benefit from travelling to something when it’s not costing me anything but my time.”
She did, however, note that childcare could be an issue for some, and that if a council member who was a primary caregiver had to pay extra for childcare in order to attend conferences then they should be reimbursed, albeit with a cap put in place and receipts provided.
There followed considerable discussion about the training budget, with Dalsin providing clarification about what the per diem was meant to cover. Pittman was concerned about possible privacy ramifications in asking people to provide proof of their wages, and indicated that she felt the per diem should be left alone.
Mayor Santo Talarico said the point was to be as transparent as possible, and also said that the UBCM conference taking place in the final year of a term should be treated differently to the first three, as many people might not be standing for re-election and therefore would have no real reason to attend. Dalsin said that if someone has stated they will not be running again, they should not be attending that final UBCM, and Talarico suggested that attendance at that event be restricted to the CAO and either the mayor or one council member.
Talarico noted that Dalsin was going through the budget process and compiling information from the different departments so that they could move on with the 2020 budget.
Dalsin said that there was an electrical outage over the weekend of Feb. 8 which affected the sewage treatment plant, as a backup battery-operated system failed to kick in, which effectively shut down the plant. He said he will be proposing that approximately $10,000 be spent to do an assessment of the electronic and mechanical systems at the plant, as this is not the first time that this sort of thing has happened. Upon inspection it was also found that there was an issue with one item at the plant that will have to be replaced or rebuilt.
There was discussion around an Emergency Preparedness select committee, with Dalsin saying that direction was needed from council. It was noted that various Village emergency plans and bylaws date as far back as 2004, so updating is needed. The composition of an Emergency Preparedness committee was discussed, with mention made of the lengthy list of groups that need to be at the table. Peters mentioned all the potential jurisdictions affected by an emergency in the area, and said that sharing of resources needed to be taken into account. It was also noted that acting regionally would help lessen the cost to the Village.
The meeting ended at 6:25 p.m.
Minutes and agendas for all Cache Creek council meetings can be found at the Village website at http://www.village.cachecreek.bc.ca/.