Suggestion for fewer councillors voted down
City council will not be reduced by two members, following a discussion during Monday’s council meeting.
The suggestion was one of many made by KPMG following the core services review. The purpose of the reduction was to save the city $72,000.
Coun. Brian Skakun said if it was about the money he’d rather take a wage cut than lower the number of councillors at the table.
Skakun, along with many councillors, expressed concerns that reducing the number of councillors lessened the diversity of those representing the city.
“This is not a very diverse table,” Mayor Shari Green said.
She added though the councillors themselves are all a bit different, the general public likely see them as very similar. However, she added, the positions being discussed did not involve the mayor’s seat.
In order to reduce the number of councillors representing the city, the ones currently on council have to vote in favour of the idea. Then the question of whether or not the residents of the city concur would be asked, in the form of a referendum question which would be added to the next election ballot.
If city residents concurred, then the following election, in 2017, would be for six rather than eight councillors.
Coun. Garth Frizzell pointed out they would be making a decision affecting the city several years in the future, when the population may have increased significantly.
Coun. Dave Wilbur said the workload per councillor is already significant, and decreasing the number of councillors would increase that workload.
Green pointed out Surrey has eight councillors and a population of about 500,000 people. However how their municipal government runs, whether or not the councillor positions were full time, was unknown.
Though councillors Cameron Stolz, and Albert Koehler and Green were in favour of reducing the number of councillors, the motion was defeated.