Richmond continues as CRD chair

The Cariboo Regional District board has re-elected Area G director Al Richmond for a fourth term as chair.

The Cariboo Regional District board has re-elected Area G director Al Richmond for a fourth term as chair.

“I’m humbled they re-elected me,” Richmond told the Tribune Friday at the board office.

It can be sometimes difficult, he said, but something he enjoys doing.

“I’m glad the board felt I warranted another round as the chair.”

In the next term, the board will continue to work on building the region and its communities.

“We have our plan for a strong region’s report to find alternative sources of revenue. Everything we do is tax-based and we’re totally reliant on taxation so we need to find some way, with the province, to look at other initiatives,” he said.

Pointing to trust funds in other areas of the province, such as the Columbia Basin Trust, Richmond said the Cariboo Chilcotin needs something similar to reduce the dependency on property taxes.

As the economy tightens, people become more concerned about taxes, and industry has a tougher time, it becomes more and more important to come up with new solutions.

Richmond said the CRD was one of the first regional districts to say it will be glad to see the municipal auditor general position, although the board wished there had been more consultation on how it was going to be structured.

“We are looking for opportunities to improve and to have someone independent come in and look at some of the stuff we do. We do have an audit every year, we have to have a balanced budget and aren’t allowed to run a deficit,” he explained, adding he feels the district is transparent about its finances, although the board has heard from some segments of the population that it’s not transparent enough.

“I think that depending on how you look at it, the municipal auditor general will be helpful. Everyone in local government is open and transparent and we welcome any opportunity to improve it.”

At Friday’s meeting, the Cariboo Regional Hospital District (CRHD), the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) and the Cariboo Regional District’s (CRD) 2012 provisional Budgets and Business Plans were endorsed by the board.

In the new year, the board will begin its town hall meetings to discuss those budgets, to highlight where there are increases and decreases.

“We tailor the meetings somewhat to each area because every community deals with different things, but we have to present the overall budgets,” Richmond said.

The first of the 16 meetings takes place on Jan. 11 and will continue through to Feb. 1. and Richmond’s hoping people will attend the meetings.

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