The city’s share of Mayor John Douglas’s recent trip to China will be paid out of the councillors’ travel budget, not with economic development money or that of the city’s general contingency fund.
Councillors changed their minds and had to rescind a previous vote then make a new motion calling for Douglas’s trip to be funded with money from council’s travel budget up to a limit of $2,000.
In April, councillors voted to allow Douglas to travel to Enshi, China, where SD 70 officials are recruiting students to attend high school in Port Alberni. The school district offered to cost-share Douglas’s fare.
The trip is now being paid for specifically out of council’s travel budget, city finance manager Cathy Rothwell said in a telephone interview.
At Monday’s meeting, Coun. Hira Chopra posed that councillors were clear about where the money was coming from for the trip at the previous meeting and agreed to it with a motion.
“The motion passed. Why do we have to change that now?” Chopra asked.
“I don’t agree with this one. This isn’t the right procedure.”
Council underfunds the economic development department to begin with so the added expense wouldn’t be in its best interest, Coun. Jack McLeman said.
Making the change will have an impact later, city manager Ken Watson said. “The travel account may be over budget somewhat.”