The director who’s soon to represent the Mountain Resort Municipality of Jumbo Glacier at the Regional District of East Kootenay’s board meetings will find their tank empty when it comes to travel expense reimbursements.
The RDEK voted unanimously at their Friday, February 1st meeting to amend their remuneration bylaw and accommodation allowances policy. A Jumbo director will not receive any RDEK funds for travel and accommodations until they are given voting rights at the RDEK, in accordance with the mountain resort municipality letters patent document.
Those letters state that voting privileges will commence by January 1st, 2017, or when the taxable assessment within the municipality exceeds $30 million.
“The reason we changed our remuneration bylaw to exclude the new municipality of Jumbo Glacier is that the new municipality is not contributing any money to the RDEK,” said Rob Gay, the regional district board chair. “We have said that Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality should not cost the tax payers of the RDEK any money, hence we excluded them until an assessed tax bases is available.”
The decision to restrict travel reimbursements is not a major concern and will not affect the working relationship that Jumbo Glacier has with the RDEK, said Jumbo mayor, Greg Deck.
“We intend to propose a protocol that will have the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality appointee to the RDEK board only attending meetings at the request of the RDEK chair and that no director’s honorarium should be paid by the RDEK to that appointee,” he added. “Should an invitation from the chair be received, Jumbo Glacier mountain resort municipality would cover travel expenses directly.”
Invermere mayor Gerry Taft voted in support of the amendments to the RDEK travel policy at the board, but voted against the motion during committee meetings the previous day.
“At the committee level, I voted against the remuneration and travel policy amendments because I wanted to make the point that the issue about the Jumbo Municipality having a seat at the RDEK board is bigger than whether it is RDEK or Provincial taxpayer dollars that pays for an unaccountable and un-elected individual to influence regional decisions, because either way there is only one taxpayer, and either way they are paying for this pretend town.”
Mayor Taft voted in support of amendments to policy at the board level because he had already made his points around the policy at the committee level, he added.
RDEK vice chair and Area F director, Wendy Booth, also voted in support of amending the bylaw.
“The Jumbo municipality currently has no tax assessment, so they are not paying into the pot that the directors claim travel expenses from,” she added. “I don’t think a municipality that is not paying into it should be taking money out of it.”