Four year municipal terms?

West Kelowna's mayor was surprised by a provincial government announcement Tuesday increasing term limits for municipal, regional district and school board governments from three to four years.

The extra year is on top of other municipal election reforms announced by the province back in September of last year.

Doug Findlater says he was surprised by the announcement because the issue has come before the Union of BC Municipalities Assembly on a few occasions, including last year, but was always narrowly defeated.

"Generally the smaller municipalities and regional districts are not supportive because they feel it's a long commitment for people and they would probably have trouble getting quality people to run," says Findlater.

"The larger cities and some of the medium size, like us, could go for it. But, if you asked our council we'd probably split on it."

The one positive is the expense of holding a municipal election.

Findlater says it costs West Kelowna in the neighbourhood of $75,000 to hold a municipal election.

"If this goes through you would have that expense every four years not every three years."

That means the municipality would save more than $75,000 (assuming election costs would rise) every 12 years by holding three elections and not four over that span.

The downside is accountability.

"I'm one who is just fine with having us politicians on a little bit of a shorter leash and I think the three year term does that."

As for whether the fourth year will have an affect on his decision to seek a third term as mayor, Findlater says it's something that has to be considered along with health and family support.

But, it hasn't changed his current plan.

"My plan is to run again. I'm putting the elements in place," says Findlater.

"I'm putting a little money aside. I have a campaign manager. I'm thinking about my platform. It's a go."

Findlater is winding down his second term as mayor of West Kelowna.

He served one year as a councillor before he was elected mayor in 2008.

Several other proposed changes announced in September included:

Disclosure and registration by third-party advertisers.
Sponsorship information requirements for all election advertising.
A campaign finance disclosure statements to be filed 90 days, rather than 120, following an election.
Banning anonymous contributions.
Enabling a key role for Elections BC in the compliance and enforcement of campaign finance rules

One change that won't be made right away is when you vote.

Despite a resolution by UBCM, 2014 municipal elections will still be held the third Saturday in November.

That is expected to change to the end of October in 2018.


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