Councillor questions FVRL costs

Mission Councillor Jeff Jewell would like to see the district take greater control of how it spends money when it comes to the regional library board.

Jewell said while he understands the district is part of the regional board and understands how decisions are made, he has concerns relating to the board’s finances.

“Getting control of the cost side, this is what bothers me,” said Jewell, who had hoped to defer the district’s approval of the Fraser Valley Regional Library’s operating and services agreement last week in an effort to send the message that getting the board’s finances in line and keeping costs down is a priority for Mission.

While the library board did overhaul its funding formal in recent years to make it more equitable for communities to help keep costs in line, Jewell said he wants to see it go further.

Last year, the District of Mission contributed slightly more than $1.2 million to cover FVRL costs for the year, a jump of 3.25 per cent from 2011.

Jewell said he would like the district to decide what level of service the Mission Library can deliver to the community and make small cuts if need be. He said by not signing the agreement, it sends the message of accountability to the board.

“We’re signing a five year agreement here and they haven’t shown to me that we’re happy with another five years,” said Jewel.

However, Coun. Jenny Stevens said there’s little option for Mission. She said without being part of the regional board, Mission would face a a scenario where “we would end up with a much smaller library at twice the cost.”

Stevens, who sits as Mission’s representative to the library board, said she will express Jewell’s concerns when the board meets to ensure service levels and costs are kept under control. However, Stevens said as it stands, reducing costs will come at a price.

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