Mayor offers apology following council fracas

But says staff did nothing wrong introducing budget plan revision.

A controversy boiling over the District of Sooke’s amendment to the municipality’s five-year financial plan has been put on simmer by Mayor Maja Tait.

Or at least she hopes.

Tait publicly apologized to council-watcher Gail Hall at last week’s council meeting.

Hall was interrupted by Tait several times at the Dec. 9 council meeting.

Municipal staff cleared the room when Hall began questioning the validity of the bylaw, expenditures and the integrity of staff.

“Council is being misled on this. This staff report is not accurate. [The bylaw amendment] brought forward tonight is not legal,” Hall said at the time.

Once staff cleared council chamber, Hall was interrupted by the mayor at least twice as she attempted to speak to council. Hall left the chambers frustrated.

“If a member of the public has a valid concern, they should be able to speak to council without interruption,” Tait said Friday.

“It’s hypocritical of me to say, ‘Yes, I want to hear from you,’ but I’m going to keep interrupting repeatedly. So by the time that happened, I could see why she was frustrated. It hasn’t sat with me at all on how I handled that situation.”

The 2016-2020 five-year financial plan amendment bylaw was introduced by the district’s finance department in November.

Council must amend the financial plan to include the expenditures and the funding source for the expenditure that was not included in the original bylaw.

Local governments have the legislative authority to amend their five-year financial plan, by bylaw, at any point during the year, according to the Community Charter, the provincial legislation covering municipal government.

And despite concerns by some on the legality of the financial plan amendment, the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development is not aware of any investigation into the District of Sooke for financial impropriety.

“Staff brought it forward because it’s required,” Tait said.

And she admitted council did waver off the financial plan with several major projects not forecasted in last year’s budget, including bringing the parks department and the sewage treatment facility in house.

“In this case, so many decisions fell outside the financial plan,” Tait said.

“I think it was not realizing when we made decisions to move the district business in house the budget was so slim and trim that it didn’t have any room for items that council wanted to see happen. It’s all fine to have a slim and trim budget but then there’s no contingency for other things that come up.”

Tait said in the future the district won’t wait until the end of the year to bring forward financial plan amendments, but will introduce them when needed immediately.

“There’s a process that must be followed. We might even look at doing it quarterly, but meanwhile because it’s so timely and such a new thing, let’s get back on track here for a bit,” she said.


Just Posted

Man hospitalized after early morning Sooke Road crash

Police say injuries are non life-threatening

Premier John Horgan announces improvements to Highway 14

Construction on the $10 million project is set to begin immediately

LETTERS: Sooke preschool celebrates 30th anniversary

Kingfisher Preschool to hold anniversary event May 26

Strike could start Monday for handyDart

BC Transit warns users to find alternate transportation

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

LETTER: The sewage spiral continues in Greater Victoria

My left brain has been trying to digest the news and comments… Continue reading

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Renowned Comox Valley sasquatch researcher passes away

A renowned biologist and leading Canadian sasquatch researcher who called the Comox… Continue reading

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Most Read