John Buikema is running for reelection for one of six council seats in the 2022 Municipal election. (Submitted photo)

In their own words: John Buikema

For Smithers council

To kick off our municipal election coverage, The Interior News asked all the candidates to prepare a 250-word submission that answered the following questions:

1. What is the most pressing issue facing your municipality?

2. As mayor/councillor, what do you intend to do to address that issue?

3. What is it about your background, experience, knowledge and/or personality you believe makes you qualified/suitable to be successful in the position you are seeking?

Identifying the most pressing issue facing our municipality is difficult because the Town of Smithers (like other municipalities) faces far more than one pressing issue.

However, if only one issue can be selected, I am going to highlight my hope that the 2023 property tax increase is a more moderate one in comparison to the increases of 2021/2022.

There were good reasons for those two large increases: a significant increase in RCMP costs, more funds being set aside for roads/sidewalks, a long overdue organizational review that highlighted the need to add to staffing capacity, fuel costs that rose significantly, and an unusually high rate of inflation that impacted operating costs.

The tax increases of those two years are not sustainable long-term, however, so if re-elected, I would hope to contribute to budget discussions that result in a more modest tax increase.

I believe that I can make positive contributions to the Town Council that will serve from 2022-2026 because I am a team player, a good listener, respectful of others, someone with a wide variety of leadership experiences, and someone who loves his community.

I also believe that the past four years of serving on Town Council have helped me to understand procedure and have given me some organizational and decision-making history that is needed at the council table. Serving as the council representative on the Finance, Transit, and Pool Advisory Committees, the Library Board, and Smithers Skatepark Society have also given me insights into how the town functions.

Election 2022