Maple Ridge should have a council of eight, plus a mayor, instead of the current group of seven, says Graham Mowatt, who last week announced he’s running for mayor.
Council decided previously to keep the smaller group, later approved in a public process, despite what is outlined in the Community Charter.
But Mowatt says people should be able to vote on it in a referendum tagged on to November’s civic ballot.
Having a larger council will remove the argument that councillors are overworked and underpaid, he added.
“I’m totally against paying more money.”
He also favours limiting politicians to two terms, especially now with the term lengths having changed from three to four years.
Mowatt says he should be mayor because Ernie Daykin has had his chance after serving two terms.
“So what more is he going to do? He’s had his chance.”
Mowatt has been a longtime critic of council, especially over the issue of property taxes. He says the seven-per-cent jump he’s paying this year prompted him to run.
“It is irrelevant who is responsible – local government, regional, or others. We need a mayor and council that will strive to reduce the amount we are required to pay, not continually increase it,” he said in a Friday news release.
Mowatt, 61, will be competing against three others for the top spot: incumbent Daykin, Coun. Mike Morden and student Tyler Shymkiw.
Mowatt is a former school teacher, but spent most of his working life serving on the Albion ferry, until it closed in 2009.
He added that Maple Ridge also needs a mayor to deliver the same message about controlling taxes to Metro Vancouver and TransLink.
“Maple Ridge needs a mayor who will establish improved transit services and roadway infrastructure in exchange for the millions of tax dollars sent to TransLink annually.
“Maple Ridge needs a mayor [who] supports improved transparency, public involvement, and accountability.
“Maple Ridge needs a mayor with a new vision that will lead it into a better future,” he said.
Maple Ridge municipal hall’s present mentality allows “antiquated and inefficient procedures” to continue. “This adds to costs and stagnation,” Mowatt said.
“Our goal must change from maintaining the status quo to permitting our community to strive for greater achievements, to regain its position of leading the Fraser Valley in excellence, and being the best place to live, work, do business, and raise a family.”
Mowatt ran for Maple Ridge council in 2011.