Community Comment: Salmo council gets positive status report

"We continue to encourage the public to attend meetings or listen to them on CFAD 91.1 FM or online."

With approximately 10 months in office, Council received a status report at the October 13, 2015 regular Council meeting.

Chief Administrative Officer Diane Kalen-Sukra presented a report and presentation that compared actions and projects completed against those proposed by Salmo council.

Overall the report is very positive.

On implementing a policy of open government, we have brought back public question period, held town hall meetings and for the first time ever released items from closed meetings to the public.

We have implemented the Auditor’s recommendations from as far back as 2012.

This includes introducing timesheets for employees and tracking employee leaves such as vacation and sick leave.  Further, we have made information easier to access and ensured that Council minutes are signed, filed and stored correctly.

We have also complied with the Auditor’s recommendation and filed our Financial Plan and audited financial statements fully and on time.

We have introduced a modern classification system for files and implemented a new records management system including keeping files in a secure location.

All incoming mail and calls are now logged to ensure consistent follow up on action items.

Council agendas now include the resolutions to be voted on and our Village website has been revised to include easier access and more information.

We continue to encourage the public to attend meetings or listen to them on CFAD 91.1 FM or online.

The Village office security system has been upgraded including changes mandated by WorkSafe BC.  Our Information Technology (IT) services have been revised to ensure the proper handling of personal information.

All of our electronic data is now stored on Canadian servers as required by law.  Written contracts are now in place as required.

The Village Policy Manual has been updated, employee Health & Safety has been improved and we have begun an Asset Management program and audit.

Council increased our grant-in-aid budget from $1,500 to $5,000 and 12 community groups have been provided grants so far.

The introduction of best practices in procurement have been made including the down payment on our new Fast Attack fire vehicle.

Most exciting, we obtained over $160,000 in new grants with another $100,000 applied for.

Substantial upgrades to our community park are scheduled and made possible by a grant of $70,000 from Columbia Basin Trust and additional contributions from the Regional District of Central Kootenay, Western Financial and the Village.

New playground equipment is ordered and will be installed this Fall.

This work has not been easy.  It has required clear leadership from Council and dedicated teamwork by all staff.

There will be further news on progress made in civic works and a town hall meeting will be scheduled after Council’s first year in office.

Stephen White is the Mayor of Salmo

Community Comment is an opportunity for elected officials from our local municipalities to update citizens in the region on the events, plans and progress in their respective communities. Every Friday, the Trail Times will present, on a rotating basis, a submission from councils, school trustees or regional district directors.