A new chapter has started for municipal councils in Greater Trail, some which held their inaugural meetings Monday night.
About 100 Trail residents gathered at the Riverbelle for the city’s 96th inaugural meeting, when Judge Donald Sperry administered the oaths of office for acclaimed Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs, returning councillors Robert Cacchioni and Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson and new councillors Rick Georgetti, Kevin Jolly and Sean Mackinlay. Long-time city councillor Gord DeRosa couldn’t make the event but was sworn into office ahead of time.
“While it is undeniably a time for us to look forward to the term ahead it also provides us the opportunity to acknowledge the work of those who’ve contributed to our successes in the last three years,” said Bogs, who listed off several volunteers along with former city councillors Jack Balfour, Al Graham and Fred Romano.
“There aren’t that many happy occasions in my line of work and this truly is one of them,” admitted Sperry, prior to the induction.
After a short ceremony, Bogs took the opportunity to reflect on the past term and the coming years ahead.
He touched on some lows the city faced – like the closure of the Old Bridge that was constructed in 1911 and the longstanding sewer review with Rossland and Warfield – but then took the time to highlight the positives.
He noted the $900 million Waneta Dam Expansion project, Teck’s plan to invest $210 million into the construction of a new slag fuming furnace that will increase Trail Operation’s capacity to recycle electronic waste and the success of the BC Seniors Games.
Kudos were given to city staff, who helped council accomplish many projects including the installation of a new $2 million water storage reservoir on Coleman Street and a complete rebuild of the upper portion of Topping Street that carried a $750,000 price tag.
The city’s financial position remains strong, he said, adding Trail sits with a cash balance of almost $10 million and a debenture debt of $7 million.
The average property assessed at $184,000 in Trail saw a $150 decrease in net taxes in 2011 compared to last year.
But as Bogs settles into his sixth term as mayor, he knows there are bound to be more challenges ahead.
“The continued unrest in our valley over the delivery of regionalized services and restructuring the governance within the Greater Trail area will have to be a major focus for the new council,” he said.
Aging infrastructure, affordable housing, maintaining and upgrading the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and the social, economic and physical revitalization of downtown Trail were also underlined.
“As you can see, your city council has their work cut out for them over the next three years.”
Over in Fruitvale and Montrose, new mayors Patricia Cecchini and Joe Danchuk carried into business with a much quieter approach.
Cecchini took time to thank her team – including new councillor Jill Prince – for their support and confidence during election time.
“We are fortunate to have a council that is very diverse and it is important that we respect one another’s point of views,” she said. “I believe in cooperation and collaboration and that working together will create progress.”
Cecchini said she anticipates a period of team building prior to setting a vision and developing a strategic plan to carry out this term.
Danchuk welcomed new councillors Mary Gay and Don Berriault to council chambers, where portfolios were appointed during the regular meeting.
“It was a new experience,” admitted the former councillor.
Danchuk is hopeful the village will soon be off boil water notice and is keen on picking up ongoing discussions on the Beaver Valley amalgamation study.