Now that the budget has been given its first three readings, it’s a good time to point out that our business class taxes are lower than most other northern communities, and some other resource-based communities in the province.
Our 2012 business rate of $11.88 per $1,000 of assessment is very close to the provincial average of $11.38/$1,000, and is lower than many northern and resource-based communities, whose rates vary between $12 and $25 per $1,000. Council looks forward to working with our Chamber of Commerce to find even more ways to be business-friendly.
I had a very productive two days in Prince George recently at the BC Mayors Caucus spring meeting. We dealt with a number of issues and endorsed a number of statements. Among them are resolutions supporting efforts to secure a long-term, predictable infrastructure funding source for local governments, supporting the creation of a provincial ministry dedicated to local government, and requesting that the province extend the Small Communities Grant Program. Having 70 mayors together is a powerful force for positive change for local governments.
I was one of several speakers at a news conference announcing the series of events, including a conference May 16-17, for the St. Joseph’s Mission Commemoration Project. It was a powerful experience listening to Chief Fred Robbins and Phyllis Webstad, both survivors of St. Joseph’s. Chief Fred’s vision and leadership has taken this unique event from an idea to a reality, and I thank him and the planning committee of community leaders. I see this project as a beginning. We will be acknowledging the school’s history, and discussing healing and reconciliation, but we will also be looking to the future, in how we as a community move forward together.
I am looking forward to more productive sessions with elected officials at the North Central Local Government Association convention in Quesnel this week. This year’s theme is Driving the Economy, something that council is focusing on here in Williams Lake.
Kerry Cook is the mayor of Williams Lake.