“There will be a number of changes.”
That was the message Mayor Andy Adams had for the community during his inaugural address Tuesday night at the Community Centre.
Adams pledged to turn council’s attention back to the forest industry, bank on the successes of the aquaculture industry, and deal with homelessness and other social issues.
He also promised to keep the taxpayers’ best interests in mind when it comes to spending.
“No one likes tax increases and I acknowledge the burden that the taxpayers have had to endure,” Adams said. “The message from voters was loud and clear that taxes are a major issue. It is the responsibility of this council to heed that message and be fiscally prudent as we move forward.
“There will be many requests for enhanced services, funding for more programs and more facilities, but we need to remember what the community has gone through and focus on finding both efficiencies within city operations, and new revenues, before entertaining initiatives that will impact taxation.”
Adams noted that it will be a busy few months for council, which does not have a lot of time to get its feet wet before financial planning for 2015 will have to get underway.
He said his hope is, in subsequent years, to begin budget meetings in December so that city staff and council know early on in the year what they have to work with.
But the first change to take effect will be how and when council meets.
Adams said that starting in 2015, council meetings will be moved from Tuesday to Monday nights.
“This will enable members of the media to be able to report on the decisions of council in a more timely manner – this is the first step in improving communication with the media and the public,” Adams said. “In-camera meetings will be conducted prior to open council meetings where possible so that in-camera information may rise and report and be open to the public without delay.”
Adams said he is looking forward to moving ahead with the new council that was chosen by the voters.
“During the campaign I asked for your support to elect the best possible candidates for council, that represent a balanced cross section of experience, ideologies and perspectives – a united council that works together, represents our community, respects our quality of life and is aggressive in setting a course of financial sustainability,” Adams said. “I believe the group here with me tonight will do exactly that.”
Adam said with the birth of a new council comes an opportunity for healing, change, and a change in attitude.
“Now is the time to re-build our revenues, control expenses, provide conservative investment in our community and infrastructure while ensuring that taxes are stable and competitive. Now is also the time to re-build the respect and confidence in City Hall, city management and staff, as well as the mayor and council,” Adams said. “During the campaign my wife and I received a tremendous amount of support but unfortunately, we were also subject to some very rude, insulting, defamatory and false comments and innuendo. This will not be tolerated by any member of council or staff.
“While we all have our ideas, opinions and beliefs, please be mindful that we should treat each other in a manner that we ourselves wish to be treated.
“Campbell River is an incredible community. Let’s stay positive and respectful of each other.”
For more on some of the initiatives that Adams put forward in his speech at Tuesday’s inaugural council meeting, see upcoming editions of the Mirror.