Sicamous council has opted not to foist the cost of looking good on taxpayers.
At last week’s council meeting, a $1,010.15 clothing bill was brought before council to determine who would cover the cost. Councillors were given three options: the district cover the lot, the district shares 50 per cent of the cost or pays nothing.
Council unanimously chose the latter.
A breakdown of the bill includes $42 dress shirts (picked up by Mayor Darrell Trouton and Couns. Don Richardson, Fred Busch, Charlotte Hutchinson and Terry Rysz), jackets at $75 and $78 (mayor and council, including Coun. Joan Thomson), golf shirts at $38.55 (Trouton and Busch) and $58.35 (Trouton, Busch and Rysz).
Busch made the motion that the mayor and council personally cover the cost, seconded by Coun. Suzanne Carpenter, who said she didn’t believe taxpayers should be paying for council’s clothes. She also said she was surprised by the bill, explaining council usually decides whether or not money is spent before it’s spent.
District corporate administrative officer Heidi Frank said she had spoken with the mayor prior to the meeting, for which he was absent due to road conditions, and that he had “wanted to put forward that the district pays for the clothing costs because he believes that it’s public relations…”
Coun. Don Richardson explained the clothes in question carried the District of Sicamous logo, and were worn by the mayor and council at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.
“When we all had our District of Sicamous garments on, the compliments were really interesting,” said Richardson. “They said, ‘Hmm, what a professional looking bunch….’”
Richardson added that if it was an exorbitant amount of money in question, he concurred that council should cover their own costs. But he agreed with the mayor’s point too, and said it would be a great gesture if the cost was covered by the district.
Rysz, acting as deputy mayor, explained that when it came time to select the clothing, he just took it for granted that council would cover their own costs.
“At the same time, we do represent the community and, as councillors and as mayor, the remuneration that we receive – for the most part, this is pretty much a volunteer position as we do spend a lot of our time and money acting on behalf of the community,” said Rysz. “But in this particular case, the community would probably look in favour of us as council if we did take this responsibility on ourselves.”