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No pay raises for council

Council shoots down Wells' $36K proposal



Much to her disappointment Councillor Kristi Wells was unable to drum up support for a nearly one-third pay increase for the new council Monday night.

She put forward the eleventh-hour motion at the final meeting of this council’s term. It would have allowed each new councillor to get an extra $500 per month, or $6,000 annually.

Councillors currently are paid $18,000 a year. Members of the next council, with the exception of the mayor, will be paid $19,000 annually.

The request was an effort to help the new council deal with an always-thorny issue: giving themselves pay rises.

Wells said putting forth the idea showed leadership and foresight from the outgoing council. The new council has only two incumbents on the team.

“Sometimes we know the answer and you can step forward on it,” said a disappointed Wells.

She was asked to withdraw her motion because there was not enough support for it.

Judging by the looks on some of her fellow councillors’ faces, the request came as a surprise.

“Where’s it (the money) coming from?” asked Councillor Caroline Lamont.

Wells explained there is a surplus in council’s budget every year. This year, however, a surplus is not expected in that account, municipal information officer Diana Waltmann said this week.

Councillor Marianne Wade supported the motion but there was a pause before the other councillors gathered their thoughts and commented.

All of them said they recognized the sentiment of the request, however they were unwilling to support it.

“This is not the way to make a decision,” said Councillor Nick Davies, the first to shoot down the request.

Lamont highlighted the difficulty of their situation pointing to the municipality’s striking Canadian Union of Public Employee workers who are looking for a $4,000 cost of living increase. That situation has not been resolved since it began earlier this year.

Mayor-elect Ken Melamed said he would be willing to take the issue through the budgeting process with the new council but wouldn’t support it at this time.