This week, council met again with a facilitator to continue our team building.
We have had a few sessions because with more than half of council being new, the learning curve is pretty steep — and the workload is about to ramp up.
Later this month, we will meet to create our strategic plan, a process that will set the high-level goals for the term. We will also start to dive deeper into the budget process.
While some may be wondering about this council’s solidarity, given recent media headlines, this new council is already a strong team learning to work together.
As one of the three incumbents, I must say how delighted I am to see new councillors stepping up from our first gathering together, asking questions, expressing their views and working with staff to keep building our community.
There isn’t a single councillor just sitting quietly and not contributing at all. It is a good, strong council ready to do the work.
You will be hearing a lot from this council. We want you to be involved as we finalize our budget. We already know many aren’t happy with the preliminary property tax rate, but we need to hear more than just “it is simply too high.”
We need to hear what services you think should be reviewed, changed or cut to lower the rate.
We also need to explain that the cost of everything needed to run the city has risen, just as it has increased in households.
You will have plenty of opportunities to provide input. There will be public meetings focused on the budget. Our Let’s Talk website will provide a link to send comments and suggestions. You can contact council directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find our individual emails and phone numbers online at kamloops.ca.
Communication with you will be important going forward. Barring another pandemic-related lockdown, councillors can finally get out to talk with you, listen to you, answer questions or ask our own of you.
Pre-pandemic, I was attending several neighbourhood association meetings to hear from people.
Don’t be surprised to see some of my councillor colleagues showing up, as well. One reality we all agreed on almost immediately was our need to not only be your representatives at city hall, but to be able to explain to you the realities of municipal government.
The incredibly low voter turnout in the Oct. 15 civic election shows the disconnect between understanding how crucial city government is to you and taking the time to vote.
We councillors are excited to get things going forward — and, with your help, we will definitely buff up our Kamloops shine.