The City of Armstrong is a bit different than other municipalities when it comes to preparing the city’s annual budget.
Chief financial officer Terry Martens likes to finish off the current year then start working on the new budget.
“Our one-person department likes to wind up the year, then he knows where we’re at for reserves and projects,” said Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper in wrapping up 2016 and moving on to 2017.
The big item in 2017 for both the city and township will be the official opening of the newly expanded Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Hall.
The two municipalities formed a fire commission last year, similar to its parks and recreation commission, to give more support to the department and for more communication between the two councils.
The commission commenced a search for the department’s first-ever full-time chief and didn’t have to look very far. Current chief Ian Cummings, who has held the post for nearly seven years, officially becomes the full-time chief Jan. 1.
“It should be a fairly seamless transition,” said Pieper.
Armstrong will help Vernon host the 2017 B.C. 55-Plus Games in September, with four or five events being held in Armstrong, along with a Games dance.
The city will continue to work on the creation of its latest greenspace, Huculak Park, which will include recognition to the Chinese farmers who have played a major role in the city’s historical culture.
Close to 40 people from Armstrong went on the city’s first immensely successful sister city exchange trip to Rathfriland, Northern Ireland, in the fall of 2016.
“We will hopefully entertain some Northern Ireland guests this year,” said Pieper. “Nothing is finalized but we know there are a few people that want to come over.”
For Pieper, and councillors Shirley Fowler, Paul Britton, Linda Werner, Steven Drapala and Lance McGregor, 2016 was a busy yet solemn year. They all said goodbye to their longtime colleague, Ron (Sully) O’Sullivan, who died suddenly in May at age 79.
“Sully’s death was traumatic for a lot of us,” said Pieper.
The city held a byelection to replace O’Sullivan and it was contested by four people, won by retired businessman Gary Froats.
“Having four people run is not usually the case but it shows the interest people have in our community,” said Pieper.
“Gary is going to do an excellent job, as would any of the other three who ran.”