Winter road maintenance in Barriere; is it important to you?

Is expense the only criteria for determining the worth of a service?

To the editor;

Recently I asked that the residents of Barriere take some time to provide their views to council on what was important to them.

Apparently Mayor Smith took this as an attempt to stir the pot rather than an honest desire to have council get some public direction on how to proceed during their budget deliberations and decisions.

It seems that the Mayor believes that input from the taxpaying public is not needed for budget decisions and it would be best for the community to change the way our winter roads maintenance is handled as soon as legally possible. The Mayor says this needs to be done because the winter roads maintenance service is expensive.

If expense is the only criteria for determining the worth of a service then we must ask if the Mayor has put some thought into how expensive other budget items are. For example the combined cost to the public for the services of the two highest paid district employees exceeds the cost of the winter roads contract.

In fact the combined salaries of the district office staff alone are more than the cost of the winter roads contract. Add in employer contributions, training allowances, mileage and a host of other expenses and the total is quite staggering for such a small community. Remember, this is just the office staff.

By doing a cost comparison based on a number of factors such as price per kilometer, level of service satisfaction and the number of related motor vehicle accidents during the winter season the cost of our current winter roads maintenance contract is in line with or lower than what other communities pay for this service.

Public safety is, or at least should be, the most important issue council deals with. With regards to winter roads I have been told that since the district took over this service a great percentage of people in Barriere like the way this service has been handled. It is a very comforting feeling to know that if you have to leave for work at 5 a.m. the hills and intersections in the district will be safe to travel.

It costs money to run a community. Your tax dollars are precious. Take the time to let council know what is important to you.

Bill Humphreys

Barriere, B.C.