MORRISBURG – South Dundas council revisited cost of living wage increases for municipal staff at Monday night’s meeting and agreed to the first number they were presented in December – 5.2 per cent.
Council agreed to the cost of living increase already included in the budget which has an overall impact of $175,000. This equates to a 2.2 per cent taxation rate increase.
South Dundas deputy mayor Marc St. Pierre proposed that the cost of living increase be limited to four per cent, but the majority of council disagreed. “We clearly have an issue retaining staff, “said South Dundas councillor Danielle Ward, adding that a 5.2 increase would put South Dundas closer to the middle in comparison to other area municipalities.
South Dundas councillor Cole Veinotte said that with the increase being so low over the last two years, “there’s an inevitable adjustment.” He added that 5.2 per cent “looks like it fits.”
“This year is almost a one off where CPI is so much,” said councllor Tom Smyth. He agreed to the 5.2 per cent increase, but added that council needs to explore a different system of making this decision in future years.
“Staff do deserve a good increase,” said St. Pierre.
Unless council decides otherwise, they too are eligible to receive that 5.2 per cent pay increase.
Acting treasurer for South Dundas, Lachlan McDonald presented council with a report showing South Dundas council remuneration rates in comparison to other SDG lower-tier municipalities.
“It’s important that we’re quite transparent on what we make, but maybe we don’t want to discuss this report tonight,” said South Dundas mayor Jason Broad.
Councillor Ward did not like that the decision concerning their own remuneration was left to them. “I wish the last council had done this, but they didn’t so we will have to do it,” said Ward.
“Let’s do some research and select the best practice,” suggested Broad.
“I will not say that we deserve an increase above what staff deserves,” said St. Pierre. “But for the level of effort we put into this role certainly even the top dollar in my opinion isn’t enough.”
“I’m okay with leaving the rate as is. I can’t say I want 5.2 when I just suggested 4 per cent for staff. I’m fine with what I receive.”
Although St. Pierre made these comments, there was no decision made by council during Monday’s meeting to exclude themselves from receiving the 5.2 per cent cost of living increase.