Cache Creek mayor Santo Talarico says that the first few weeks of his term have been “Very interesting. It’s been a great and exciting time, with a lot to learn, absolutely.”
The political newcomer, who defeated incumbent John Ranta—who had been Cache Creel mayor for 28 years—in the October election says that the learning curve has been “Very, very steep, to say the least. But we have a good team in the office, and we’re able to manoeuvre around things and progress forward.”
After seven months without a Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer, the Village has interim people in both positions while they search for permanent replacements. The CAO position is currently being filled by Martin Dalsin, who was previously the Village’s CAO.
“Martin knows the office and the Village, and he has experience,” says Talarico. “He can jump in and help in a very challenging time for us. He’s a very important part of the team. It’s a critical point for us.”
Talarico says that the search for a permanent CAO and CFO is the first priority of the new council. “We have to start with key components and fill two very important positions shortly. That will give a jump start to 2019.”
He notes that budget planning is now starting, and that council will be looking at what 2019 possibly has in store. Asked about the age-friendly and downtown revitalization studies that have recently been carried out in Cache Creek, Talarico says that they are still priorities. “They’ll be on the radar, especially seniors’ housing. We want to be part of the solution. And economic development in the downtown, and in the area in general, is a priority.”
Talarico stresses the need to communicate and work with other entities in the area to ensure that the entire region is successful.
“We need to have a good understanding of where other local governments in the area are with their plans and see if we can collaborate and work together as a region, not just look at Cache Creek as a separate entity. If the area is a success, Cache Creek will be a success. It won’t happen by ourselves.”
He says that a challenge for 2019 is for Cache Creek to be in a position to move forward and look at every opportunity that comes through the doors. “That’s difficult right now. I want to be in a position to address issues quickly and efficiently. We’re not there right now, but it’s a definite objective, so that all team members are on the same page.”
Talarico says that it’s a pleasure to work with his fellow council members. “The team is doing well, and we have a good mix. Without the two incumbents [Lisa Dafoe and Wendy Coomber] back it would have been very different.”
He is looking forward to the completion of the extension at the Cache Creek landfill—scheduled for summer 2019—and getting tonnage back to the site.
“That’s one of the bigger goals for 2019, getting that tonnage back. That will mean royalties coming back to us and to others in the area. Getting that going again will benefit the entire region.”
“We’re on the right track. I’m hopeful that by the end of 2019 we’ll see some improvements, and some positive energy in the area.”