Meet the Mayor
April 1, 2015
To be or not to be; to do or not to do? These are questions that precede discussions and decisions of the greatest import, discussions and decisions that affect the bottom line of Chetwynd’s accounting records; discussions and decisions that lead up to the construction of a new clinic or city hall or to funding for any number of events that contribute to the good life we enjoy here. These are questions that Council asks every happy day. They are not taken lightly.
Should Council be what Council was elected to be – the representatives of the people of Chetwynd? Should Council continue to be responsible with the funds the local government receives in taxes, fees, and grants? Or should Council depend on the adrenalin of delegations or call for a public vote on every issue?
Would you be happy if Council were unduly influenced by delegations of citizens with special interests? Or should Council receive the delegation recognizing that Council is, by virtue of being elected, the visible expression and moral image of public opinion in Chetwynd for this term?
I don’t want you to infer that Council is unwilling to listen to public representations or that we do not welcome delegations of special interest. Council is willing to listen; we do welcome delegations and will weigh carefully the information they present. But Council has an obligation to the electorate to place all information within the big picture of Chetwynd as seen by Council. (It is true, however, that a well-crafted and well-presented delegation may serve to alter the picture. It has happened before and it could happen again.)
There has been a bit of agitation in recent weeks about Council’s position on funding the exciting and fantastic annual chainsaw sculpturing event (some of you are aware of this; some are not). This is one of the events that sets Chetwynd apart from other communities and gives us a place in the world that other communities would love to have. Kudos to the organizers, sponsors, and volunteers.
The District of Chetwynd Council has committed 40,000 of your tax dollars to this event for 2015 (well, guess what; this is about $40 per every tax-paying resident of Chetwynd – more or less). Of taxation revenue this amount represents only 1.6%. As a portion of total revenues it is about 0.8%. As a Council, we think $40,000 is a significant chunk of your change, for all of which we could find other uses. And the chainsaw sculpturing event is important to the image Chetwynd is carving of itself. We would be loath to see it abandoned.
But this is not the whole story. It must cost $60,000 to $80,000 per year to maintain the sculptures when the chainsaws are silent and the sculptors have gone home with the prizes.
Council is committed to working out a master plan to address not only financial support for the event but also a rational approach to dealing with the product.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor