Mayor Ron Hovanes told the public of an in-camera discussion Monday (Sept 24th) and a decision to change the rules on how water councillors participate in council decisions after the next municipal election October 20th.
Oliver has maintained an excellent relationship with rural partners for many years by allowing the water councillors to comment on other issues than water based decisions. (They can only vote on water matters)
That will change. Council sought legal advice and based on a report not made public – legal counsel indicated that letters patent for the water utility state that water councillors should NOT be at a meeting where other matters are discussed.
Councillor Machial says the move is abrupt and sets a negative tone after almost thirty years of great co-operation. ” It is a sad day for Oliver”
Machial this decision will make it more difficult for staff to run efficient meetings and agendas will be need to be scrutinized more carefully to ensure all matters that affect the water budget are isolated and dealt with together. He says representation before taxation is an essential principle.
After the election each water budget, water operations matter will need to be segregated out – on the agenda – and those issues dealt first in a meeting and then water councillors would make themselves scarce by leaving the chambers.
Only in Osoyoos and Oliver – do councils have separate types of decision makers. This important change was made in 1990 when the South Okanagan Lands Irrigation District (SOLID) was dissolved into two parts.