City stipends move forward
Parksville city council passed first and second reading of a bylaw increasing the remuneration for the next council, despite opposition from the gallery.
“I ask council to reconsider this evening,” said former mayor Paul Reitsma, who was speaking as a delegation at the beginning of the August 15 meeting.
He said there are too many families suffering in the current economic climate and “council should follow, not lead the private sector,” in terms of wages.
The sentiment was picked up by several during the public question period at the end of the meeting, some of whom who suggested it would hurt pensioners and struggling residents.
“I want to put this in perspective,” said councillor Marc Lefebvre, who pointed out the council stipend is proposed to increase from $11,755 to $13,890 and that it is a token increase to keep up with other similar cities and to keep attracting good people to council.
Acting mayor Chris Burger also said nobody runs for council for the money, but for all the work they do, it’s hard to attract working people to run if it’s taking away income they could be making at their regular day job.
“When I ran for council it had nothing to do with the money,” said Coun. Sue Powell, who added that it does end up taking up a huge amount of time and younger working people shouldn’t be discouraged from running because it will cost them.
With two absent, the councillors in attendance, including Lefebvre, Burger, Powell and Teresa Patterson all passed first and second reading of the bylaw which would increase the council stipend by 18 per cent as of Jan. 1, 2012 and the mayor’s pay by 16 per cent to $33,440 followed by Consumer Price Index increases in 2013 and 2014 before another review.
The bylaw will come back to the next council meeting for a final vote.