Residents won't have the opportunity to vote on whether they want to reduce the size of council in the next municipal election.
During Monday's meeting, council voted down a recommendation for staff to prepare a bylaw with the goal of holding a referendum during the 2014 general election on cutting council from eight members to six.
The recommendation came as part of a report from legislative services manager Walter Babicz fulfilling council's request for more information on the process needed to shrink council.
Reducing councillors came to light as a cost-saving opportunity in the final core services review report from KPMG. The consultants identified a potential maximum of $72,000 that could be saved per year in the action.
Those who were not in favour of the idea argued there would be a much larger workload for a smaller group of people to share.
"If you look at the workload that would go to six councillors for a community our size and spread out as we are, I think the stigma that we don't have enough communication with our community is already out there and to cut back to six councillors as opposed to eight would further complicate that process," said Coun. Frank Everitt.
Councilors Lyn Hall and Dave Wilbur agreed, expressing concerns about how the workload would be shared amongst six people.
Had the recommendation received a positive feedback, a bylaw would be presented by March 2014, with a referendum question coming later in the year. If the question was supported by the electors, a smaller council would be elected in the 2017 municipal election.
Coun. Garth Frizzell said they had to take the future population growth of Prince George into consideration. "We'd be making a decision for how big the city's going to when this actually takes effect four-and-a-half years from now," he said. "It just doesn't seem to make sense."
Reducing the size of council wasn't an effective means of saving money, said Coun. Brian Skakun. "If this is just purely a money issue, then we should keep eight councillors and reduce our wages by $72,000," he said. "If you go down to six I agree we can't serve our constituents as good as possible."
Detractors also argued about a lack of diversity around the council table with two less seats.
"I think that diversity has served us well in previous years," said Coun. Murry Krause.
Mayor Shari Green, who was in favour of putting the issue to a referendum, said she didn't see the diversity aspect as a valid argument.
"This is not a very diverse table. If you look across the room at each other, other than myself, this is a pretty specific group of people," she pointed out. "Certainly we have diverse opinions and political thinking, but in the eyes of the public, I'm not sure how diverse we really are."
Councillors Cameron Stolz and Albert Koehler were also in favour of letting the public vote on the concept, with Stolz pointing out that one-third of the province's communities with a population of 50,000 or more make do with six.
"I have no problem with six councillors," Koehler said. "It depends on who lets their name stand [for election]."