Bailouts and slush funds for rural directors combined with a lack of spine seem to be the biggest problem at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.
Coun. Helena Konanz asked for an accounting on behalf of Penticton citizens. While Mayor Andrew Jakubeit drew attention to the fact that no one holds the rural directors to account (you got that right, most of all their own residents).
The people of Penticton work hard to hold their local elected officials to account and I would venture to speculate Summerland and Osoyoos residents do a pretty good job of making sure their elected officials are accountable not only for the money they spend but the actions they take on behalf of the citizens they are supposed to represent. The taxpayers of these municipalities benefit from this oversight.
Those three cities carry 29 of the 54 eligible votes cast at the RDOS. Enough to form a majority vote to stop the rural spendthrifts in their tracks. Even though the rural director’s bailout and slush fund comes directly out of the rural region funds Penticton, Summerland, and Osoyoos have a responsibility towards their taxpayers and they should have used this leverage to stop this unaccountable waste in its tracks. Penticton pays 39 per cent of the budget Summerland 14 per cent, Osoyoos eight per cent. That is 61 per cent of the budget.
It seems to me that the rest of the region is asleep. The fawning comments reported by directors in Naramata and Area D (Kaleden, Heritage Hills, Okanagan Falls etc.) particularly speak very clearly: ‘Milk me, I am yours for the taking; you can have it all just don’t make me uncomfortable by asking.’ That is not taxpayers out there. More likely sheep or, with all that milk flowing, cows. The rural regions probably deserve what they get.
Speaking now of the satellite communities of Penticton — this is as good a reason as any why they are too cheap to support the recreational needs of their residents and instead live off the backs of Penticton taxpayers. They are too lazy to control the spendthrift ways of their directors and too spineless to stand up for their right to responsible and accountable government.
Keep your rural directors happy. Roll over in your beds give a big yawn and go back to sleep. Life is good on the public purse.