Continuing to plan strategically

I had a great time cheering on our local competitors at the Indoor Rodeo Saturday.

I had a great time cheering on our local competitors at the Indoor Rodeo Saturday, along with the sold-out crowd. We also had a visit from Miss Rodeo Canada Gillian Shields. A big thank you to all of the sponsors and volunteers who put in the hard work to make this such a successful community event.

I am pleased that we have reached a fire protection agreement with the Cariboo Regional District. It means certainty for both rural fringe and City residents, and it means the City has important financial stability for an additional five years. My thanks to Council for seeing these negotiations through and enabling us to reach this agreement. I’m looking forward to working with the CRD in continuing to serve our communities going forward.

An open house Monday night on the proposed Community Forest application to be put forward by the city and Williams Lake Indian Band hosted by the Fraser Basin Council was very well attended by over 100 people. The purpose was to provide information on the application and receive recommendations from the public. It was a very respectful and productive meeting. It was clear there was a lot of passion and frustration around this issue. I look forward to the report summarizing all of the recommendations we received.

Council unanimously gave first three readings to the 2013 budget and five-year financial plan Tuesday. This is a $32.5 million budget, with $12.9 million in capital projects and $18.8 million in operating costs. South Lakeside will be repaved with no long-term borrowing, and we have kept the tax revenue increase to 1.97 per cent, the lowest increase since 2005. Since then, tax rate increases have been between 3 per cent and 4 per cent. We changed the process for this budget by planning earlier, building a provisional budget last fall from department business plans and Council’s strategic priorities. By starting the process earlier, we were able to have public input opportunities early on, and collect more overall input. We are continuing to plan strategically, and to put money into capital reserves.

Kerry Cook is the mayor of Williams Lake.

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