Photo by Tanner Wallace-Scribner, MyCaribooNow staff
At last night’s City of Williams Lake council meeting, the council released the 2019 Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements.
The annual report includes information regarding municipal operations and services and departmental highlights from 2019. It also provides a statement of municipal objectives and measures that will be used to determine progress respecting those objectives for the current and next year, and relevant financial information.
Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb said that overall the highlight from last year for him was the amount of new investment the community received.
“The top of the list, the almost $35 million in new investment within our community,” he said. “In some of these hard times we’ve had, we were concerned that our development would go down, but it’s been great. There’s a number of projects that have gone on that have caused investment. It’s been relatively good for the City for 2019, and we are hoping that we can carry some of that through to 2020.”
The report featured several other highlights from the City dealing with development services, economic development, municipal services, and community services, all of which, as well as the full report, by clicking here.
Despite the positive report, Cobb said that there are still things that he and the council would want to see improved within the City.
“We can no longer look at being a single-industry community. We’re are basically a forest industry. We have mining, we have agriculture, but we need to diversify as much as we can,” he said. “We can’t continue to look at one industry because if that industry goes to doldrums, then we have a different issue.”
He continued that they need to diversify the community, but they also need to stabilize those industries.
“Any industry we have, I think we have to be able to protect what we have, whether it be agriculture, mining, or forestry,” Cobb said. “We have to do what we have to do to protect those industries to make sure that they are here and that they are stable.”
He noted that though he feels they have been successful in getting the City’s finances in order but there is always room for improvement.
“We’ve been able to get by six years now, and only one year did we have any kind of tax increase. We stated as a council that we weren’t going to increase the tax rate, that any spending that we had, we wanted to be able to do by increasing assessments.”
“That $35 million in new investment certainly helps us along that way. Rather than increase taxes on individuals that are there, we need to continue down the road to get new investments so that we don’t have to put a larger burden on the people.”
Cobb said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he believes that they will have another successful report once again for 2020.
“We are over halfway through 2020, and it’s looking really good. We can expect to have every bit of as good of report for this time next year,” he stated.