Councillor proposes reducing Golden’s council from six to four

Town of Golden councillor, Keith Hern, thinks the time is right to reduce the number of councillors in Golden from six to four.

Town of Golden councillor, Keith Hern, thinks the time is right to reduce the number of councillors in Golden from six to four.

Hern has put a Notice of Motion in to have a discussion on the topic at the Oct. 8 council meeting.

“I started looking around to other communities and noticed a majority of communities only had four councillors,” he said. “This gives everybody two or three months to discuss it and decide if they would want it or not.”

Hern said after looking at 74 communities with a population below 5,000 people, he found out 52 of them had only four councillors.

The Town of Golden council, on June 10, 1996, adopted Bylaw 977 to provide for the increase of council size from four to six councillors. Repealing Bylaw 977 would have the effect of reducing the number of councillors to four as established under the Community Charter, Hern said.

He added he thought the conditions in 1996 were different than they are now.

“Going to four is going to save us some money. That is a driving factor. Each councillor costs about $15,000 when you take into account their salary and expenses,” Hern said. “One of the platforms when I was elected was to try and reduce the expenses. It is a good place to start for council and set a good example.”

If the motion is eventually passed by council it wouldn’t come into effect until the next election.

Hern said it could makes things more efficient in the running of the town.

Town of Golden Mayor Christina Benty said this question will hopefully create a productive debate in the community.

“I think at this point it will be an interesting community debate. I hope that we hear from both sides and that people will give some consideration to a number of questions,” she said.

Some of the questions Benty has at the present time revolve around whether or not this is purely a financial decision.

“What will be the losses to the community? What will be the gains to the community? What is the value of representation to people? How much volunteer effort will be lost, and does that matter to the people?” she said.

Benty also wondered if the elimination would discourage younger people who might not run if there were fewer seats on council.

“I think it is an interesting opportunity. All of the elections I have been involved in since 2002, if you cut out the last two people elected, how would that have changed the nature of the decision making around the table?” she asked.