The Town is holding off on a mayoral byelection until it hears back on its grant application for a proposed Library-Art Gallery.
The Town is currently waiting to hear back regarding a $12.8 million grant application they made to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, a joint provincial-federal grant program which funds up to 90 per cent of project costs for towns between 5,000 and 25,000 people.
It is anticipated that the grant announcement will take place in early 2020.
In a Nov. 5 press release the Town said it’s waiting to hear on the outcome of the grant application before moving forward with choosing a byelection date.
“In addition to a by-election, the Town, depending upon the outcome of its grant application for the Library-Art Gallery project, may or may not be holding assent voting (referendum),” the release said.
“Given the high cost of hosting each of these processes separately, a cost of approximately $30,000 each, the by-election will be held off until the Town receives the announcement on the grant, which if successful will trigger the assent voting for the Library-Art Gallery borrowing.”
The Town is also looking to borrow $1 million in additional funding to secure funding for the building.
In January, Smithers Town Council agreed a referendum would be the best way to gain support for the project and would also serve to quantify whether or not it had the support of the community.
A referendum is sent out to all taxpayers and requires at least 50 per cent plus one vote support to pass.
In January The Interior News reported the cost of the loan the Town is vying for would require a 1.14 per cent tax increase (working out to $15 for the average $277,000-assessed home).
At the time the Town said some of this could be offset by a Hwy 16 $1.5-million improvement loan debt being retired between 2022-2024.