Council will attend to unfinished budget deliberations on Tuesday, December 12.
On December 7, the Municipality of Jasper provided notice of a Special Meeting of Council to address remaining agenda items from council’s regular meeting on Tuesday.
At the December 5 meeting, councillor Rico Damota voted in opposition to a motion to extend the meeting past four hours. It was an unexpected vote, one which Mayor Richard Ireland double-checked. For weeks, council has had a running joke about extending their meetings; this seemed like the latest bit of hijinks.
“I wasn’t sure whether you were playing a game,” Ireland told Damota.
Whether he was playing a game or not, the consequences were serious enough. Council’s procedural bylaw requires unanimity on motions to extend meetings.
“You’re opposed?” Ireland asked Damota.
“Yes,” Damota said.
As a result of the nay vote, part way through council’s meeting to approve the town’s operational and capital budgets, the assembly was automatically adjourned.
Later, Damota indicated he wanted more time to consider residents’ feedback on the budget.
“I feel that a longer filter process is necessary,” Damota said on social media.
The Special Meeting has been called for December 12 at 11 a.m. Other remaining agenda items to address include Notices of Motion; Councillor Reports; Upcoming Events; and an In Camera item.
But the one which will require the most debate is the approval of the 2024-2026 Operating Budget and the 2024-2028 Capital Budget.
Special Meetings can be called whenever the council’s top official (the mayor, in Jasper’s case) thinks it is appropriate to do so or if he receives a request to do so from a majority of councillors.
According to Legislative Services Director Christine Nadon, before this instance, with respect to a meeting extension motion being defeated, a Special Meeting has never been called “in the context of section 16.2 of the Municipality of Jasper’s municipal procedure bylaw.”
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