Kitimat may have to reorder ballots, even before deciding on holding plebiscite

Council has cut the responses for the plebiscite to two, but may have to reorder the ballots.

Even if council ends up scrapping the plebsicite plan, as they are expected to debate next Monday, there will still be costs.

That includes an extra $500-or-so if they have to reprint the ballots.

That’s because council had previously established three responses to their question; Yes, No, and Undecided.

But when staff wanted to confirm the wording of the advertisements at the February 24 Committee of the Whole meeting, some didn’t realize they had added that option on the ballot.

Phil Germuth brought up the issue saying he though it was a two-option ballot, and Mayor Joanne Monaghan also thought the vote would only have two choices.

“I think it’s such an important question, having undecided in there…I think by now everybody knows yes or no. It just leaves it open to misinterpret the results,” said Germuth.

Deputy Chief Administrative Office Warren Waycheshen said that staff had reviewed past meetings to ensure they had the correct motions from council’s debates on this matter but did note that council did debate the plebiscite responses extensively.

Councillors opted to remove the ‘Undecided’ response from the ballot at the February 24 meeting.

The ballots, however, had already been ordered for the plebiscite. Staff will look at the possibility of re-purposing the ballots, but if they can’t without making them confusing they may have to order a reprint.

The reason that staff may re-order the ballots before council debates holding the event is because the timeframe of ordering ballots to receiving them may be so tight that ordering this week ensures they’ll have them in time if council confirms their intention to hold the plebiscite.

Initial estimates of the plebiscite cost were $15,000 but Waycheshen said their latest estimates are just over $13,000.

Staff wages for the time to arrange the plebsicite are valued at $7,500. The ballots itself are budgeted at $1,000 currently. Advertising is expected to cost $3,000, and other materials set at $2,000, with the whole budget totalling $13,500.