I ran in Division 1 county council, and I lost by one vote. I found the whole experience very enlightening and educational and learned a lot in the process of meeting so many of the constituents.
There were many things that I learned on the doorsteps and appreciated all the input. I have summarized the findings and shared that with all the councillors and the administration since there were many items that are common to all divisions.
I also had the opportunity to talk with not only Division 1 constituents but also those of the other divisions as well as other counties that border Mountain View County.
One of the most pressing issues is that the tax base has been eroding, costs are going up so the new council must be creative to increase the tax base and make our county attractive to new businesses and investors as our neighbouring counties are doing.
One of the things I told the new council and administration was that they must become leaders and set examples. I suggested that they should first agree to reduce their compensation by at least five to 10 per cent to lead by example.
The constituents have faced COVID-19, increases in costs, drought and other issues and have no way to increase their income, and will face a tax increase.
I am appalled to learn that the first main order of business that the council did was to pass the cost of living adjustment (COLA). This is so tone deaf, and out of line with reality.
Two of the councillors -- Peggy Johnson and Jennifer Lutz -- voted against it while the other five voted for it, stating that it was important to do to keep our employees. Yes, our employees are important, but at least the councillors could have voted to reject their own increase.
How is it that our employees can vote themselves a raise at the cost of their employers?
We need to hold the feet to the fire on our councillors since they work for us. Our councillors must be real leaders in this challenging time. At least this vote was recorded.
I also think that this council should agree to record all votes so we can see how they vote. Let us keep our councillors accountable.
I would ask that each one of us contact our councillor and ask why they voted the increase for all in this time of difficulty.
Edward J. Shaw,
Mountain View County