Editorial: Time to choose

Council opens up conversation with the public, so make sure to speak up

Every year, homeowners in communities across the country get a little piece of mail they dread.

That property tax bill. That onerous, unavoidable, necessary tax bill.

The bill that pays to keep the clean water running safely into homes, and the grey water away from it. The bill that pays for fire services, police services, libraries, roadways, sidewalks, recreation services, lawn cutting in parks, snow plowing and then some.

Every year, there is grumbling and wondering if it will ever decrease, if the money is being spent well, and comparisons about how much cheaper it must be on the other sides of fences.

But there isn’t much action taken to actually find out where the money is going, or how much services really cost, which is really unfortunate considering how easy it is to access the information.

Unlike big cities where you may never meet your mayor or councillors, Agassiz residents have it easy. Finding out why council is spending x amount of money on this or that is probably just a phone call away. More likely, you could ask a member of council or staffer when you bump into them at the grocery store, the gym, or while they’re out for a leisurely walk.

Sometimes, it’s as easy as showing up for an open house, or dropping an email to municipal hall.

It’s true that only a scant few people show any regular interest in the goings on at council, but it’s hardly fair to fault the rest of the community for shrugging it all off. Council meetings can be famously dry. They can drone on, and on, and on. The terminology can seem foreign, the process not navigable.

But it’s worth trying. Council members have been pleading with the public to take a vested interest in shaping the community of Agassiz for the past few years. Although the seats in the public gallery have been filling up the closer it gets to election time, numbers are likely to dwindle back down over the winter months.

Here’s a little inside info. Council members love it when the gallery is full. They discuss issues at length and they want their constituents to know their concerns, their reasonings, and their ideas. Council meetings are rife with bits of information that may never make it to the newspaper, for lack of time or space. But it’s all good stuff. And more ‘good stuff’ happened Monday night.  (See story, page…)

The District of Kent manages millions of dollars every year, in various streams of money traveling in and out of their coffers, as well as well-managed reserve funds. But right now, they have $209,000 to spend on something extra. Something lasting. Something fun, to leave a legacy form a great moment in Agassiz’s history — the impressive filming project that was Wayward Pines.

There couldn’t be an easier way to have your voice heard, and it won’t even hit you in the pocketbook.