Rossland councillor provides his take

I think some clarification is needed about the Wednesday story, “Mayor Threatens To Call Rcmp On Councillor.”

The story describes the debate at Rossland city council about the appointment of a review panel to consider a parcel tax roll prepared so that taxes can be levied on properties at Red Mountain and Redstone to pay for the developer’s portion of the Ophir Reservoir.

According to the relevant legislation, the purpose of a review panel is to review the parcel tax roll to ensure there are no errors. If errors are found, the panel can direct that they be corrected.

In May 2010, the review panel composed of councillor Kathy Moore, Mayor Greg Granstrom and myself, considered complaints filed by property owners in relation to the draft roll that had been prepared and made available to the public.

It was plainly obvious to a majority of the panel that there were serious errors in the parcel tax roll. The panel directed staff to make corrections to the roll.

To this day, no corrections have been made by staff even though I enquired in September and December of 2010 about when the corrections would be completed.

Rossland adminstrator Victor Kumar is quoted as saying the previous process ended and the panel has to be appointed on an annual basis. What complete and utter nonsense.

The previous process did not end. The review panel has been waiting for staff, under the direction of Mr. Kumar, to complete the corrections they were directed to do almost a year ago. They have failed to do so.

In spite of Mr. Kumar’s assertions, there is absolutely nothing in the legislation that requires a review panel to be appointed on an annual basis. I challenge him to identify the legislation that says there is.

I believe the claims by Mr. Kumar that the panel did not follow legislated procedure are libellous in nature and are simply a pretext to have the members of the panel replaced. Because his actions are contrary to the provisions of his employment contract, I have submitted a notice of motion that his contract be terminated with cause.

The actions of the mayor throughout the debate were the most despicable and disgraceful behaviour I have ever witnessed in my many years as an elected official. He bullied and interrupted councillors trying to speak. He ignored provisions of the procedure bylaw. He forced a vote on a motion without allowing any councillors to speak.

When I objected to his outrageous behaviour, without warning he ordered my expulsion from the meeting. It was an absolute abuse of power and an assault on democracy. He is not worthy of holding the office of mayor.

For any who are interested, you can form your own opinion about Mr. Granstrom’s behaviour by watching the video of the meeting on the city website: http://www.rossland.ca/city-hall-regular-meeting-video-recordings

To save time, scroll through to the 1:35:00 time of the video to view the key parts of the meeting.

Laurie Charlton

Rossland

Editor’s note: Laurie Charlton is a Rossland city councillor