By on October 26, 2011

What a relief last week to read that Osoyoos Town Council will NOT be getting a pay raise!
Not to say that councillors don’t work extremely hard and that they are not very dedicated to their roles. It’s just that the reality of the moment here in Canada, B.C. and Osoyoos in particular, is that no one is in the mood for handing out pay raises … not for anyone.
What business or institution in this town do you know of that hasn’t faced staff layoff, downsizing, re-structuring, reduced hours of operation or general belt-tightening over the past year or so? Adjustments in the way people do business is commonplace. In order to survive, some tough decisions need to be made and most often those decisions centre around ‘What is absolutely essential?’ or ‘What could we do without?’ In business, it’s a choice of either balancing the budget, or ultimately not having a budget to balance.
We get used to the way things are, and we resist the new order. Cutting expenses is never pleasant, but in some situations, there is no alternative.
The soul-searching required to make sometimes painful expense cuts is part of being in business. But necessity rules.
Necessity should also rule when it comes to Town of Osoyoos operations. Even a “small tax increase”, coming at a time when budgets all over town are being slashed, is not acceptable.
Would staff like a pay raise? Of course… but not at this time. Are present staffing levels appropriate in times of economic downturn? According to an expensive independent study, current staffing levels are “exactly where they should be”. But in the face of continuing to have to tighten the belt…yet again… why isn’t everybody facing the same constraints?
Things aren’t humming along the way they were a few years ago. And it doesn’t appear that will change anytime soon. So what’s wrong with admitting that we can no longer afford to spend the way we previously did?
Apparently, there is a limit to taxpayers’ patience. Ask the HST folks.
So maybe you should ask YOUR favourite civic candidate what he or she intends to do about the fact that maybe instead of thinking “expansion,” we all need to be thinking about maintaining what we’ve already got.

Chris Stodola

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