Status quo on low remuneration

MORRISBURG – South Dundas council members are the lowest paid councillors across all of SDG and it will stay that way.

Council was presented with a review and comparison of council remuneration completed by acting treasurer Lachlan McDonald at the June 13 meeting.

It showed that South Dundas remuneration for its elected officials is at the bottom end of the chart in the county-wide remuneration comparison.

The base remuneration for mayor of South Dundas is $27,858.60, which is more that $2,000 less than the next lowest paid mayor, of South Glengarry at $30,002.96. Similarly, North Stormont’s mayor receives base remuneration of $30,550. Base remuneration for North Dundas and North Glengarry’s mayors are $33,333.42 and $33,191.63 respectively. South Stormont’s mayor receives the highest base remuneration in all of SDG at $38,588.88.

Across SDG, South Dundas’ deputy mayor receives the lowest base remuneration at $17,164.92. Going up from there, the report shows that North Dundas’ deputy mayor receives a base remuneration of $18,133.18, North Glengarry $21,246.94, South Stormont $22,186.69, and South Glengarry $24,027.64. North Stormont is at the highest end of the scale with a base deputy mayor remuneration of $25,462.

Again, in the review of base councillor remuneration, South Dundas is at the bottom end of the chart at $13,826.28, which is again more than $2,000 lower than the next lowest paid councillors. Councillor remuneration in North Dundas is $16,006.90. In North Stormont councillors are paid $17,452, North Glengarry $18,593.64, South Stormont $$18,832.50 and South Glengarry $19,552.

South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds pointed out that this council opted not to take any pay increases over the four budgets of this term. “The last four years we decided not to increase the rate at all and that may play into it,” he commented. He added that an across the board 10 per cent increase to the base remuneration would put South Dundas more in line with the other municipalities in SDG. “I know the workload has increased significantly over the last 10 years,” he said.

“We’re only kidding ourselves,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan, adding that not taking a raise over the last four years is honourable, but added that they are shortchanging those who may want to take on the job, knowing what it entails. “You want to attract the best possible people for the job, but in reality you can’t do this unless you are financially secure enough,” said Mellan. “We need to up the ante on this for future members of council.”

“I’m happy with what I’m getting, even though these numbers show we’re at the bottom,” said South Dundas councillor Lloyd Wells. “I didn’t know what the others were getting and I didn’t care.”

“I don’t think these are the right numbers,” said Byvelds. “I know the hours we put in are probably higher than ever. As much as we’re not in this for the money, I’ve always thought that people have to be properly compensated for their time.”

Mellan added: “To get the people you want to run for public office, to entice them to run, they’ve got to be properly compensated.”

While the report was informative, the members of council who are formally seeking re-election this fall found it ill-timed. “I want to be here to use my skills for the community,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner. “It’s very awkward timing to be having this discussion.” Councillor Donald Lewis, said that he does this for “the love of the game” not the money. “I love what I do.”

“This should have been done a while back,” said Wells. “I’m good to leave it the way it is.”

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