Council increase is an outrage

How can they limit wage increases for others when they go this far for themselves?

Do you believe, even for one fleeting moment, that anyone vying for a council seat this coming fall will confidently defend they are totally right voting themselves a 23 to 25 per cent wage increase in front of some 500 people attending the all-candidates meeting and expect a round of applause instead of collective booing?

 Yes, that is the actual increase the current council granted themselves without much debate, not an at arm’s length decision, as most council members are expected to try to get re-elected this fall.  

Using the convenience of hiding behind a citizen’s report, council must feel the average thinking individual can’t deduce they were simply voting themselves this unnecessary and unjustified raise.

The proposed rate of 17 per cent for the mayor and 18 per cent for councillors is only the beginning.  Council quietly stayed mute on their additional automatic CPI (Consumer Price Index) top-off in 2013 and 2014.  

Based on current numbers (May was 3.7 per cent, June 3.1 per cent) it is expected to be at least another three per cent per year, hence making it between 23 and 25 per cent. 

Furthermore did you know that one third of this is tax free?

Would they have lowered their stipends if they were above average?

Many senior citizens, living on a small fixed income/pension (supplemented by government assistance) would love even a small increase.  

A $7,000 mayoralty increase represents a 60 per cent increase on their $12,000 yearly pension!

Many single parent family households would jump for joy getting even a couple of thousand more. In this difficult and trying economic time, many small business owners (I operated one for 30 years) and those who are self-employed, who don’t have the luxury of a steady, regular paycheque, would be happy to make the same as the last couple of years, let alone enjoy an increase.  

Students are finding it increasingly difficult to find jobs in order to pay for their studies and education yet found their fees and tuitions increased.

What argument will council come up with when our staff and union staff request to be treated the same way and ask to be averaged also? 

How can council ask staff to limit wage demands to a mere one or two per cent only, yet vote themselves a 23 to 25 per cent increase?

Paul Reitsma

Parksville