Cost of living increase debate continues

BARRY’S BAY – Madawaska Valley Township council wants to review the budget before approving a two per cent cost-of-living increase for township staff.

That was the decision made at the regular council meeting held on December 15, where council reviewed the minutes from the December 8 finance meeting.

Councillor Ernie Peplinskie asked for clarification on one recommendation, which would give staff the two per cent increase. He was concerned about whether or not elected-officials would also receive the increase.

CAO/Clerk Craig Kelley clarified that council remuneration is dictated by a separate bylaw, however, that bylaw does indicate that council members will receive a two per cent increase.

Mayor Kim Love was concerned about giving staff a pay raise without having seen the budget first.

“I would like to leave ourselves open to see whether or not the municipality can afford a two per cent increase to staff when we are doing our budget,” she said. “That was my main concern here that we would be locking ourselves into that two per cent before we even see what our budget looks like.”

If council votes in favour of a cost-of-living increase in the new year, then the increase could be retroactive effective January 1, Love explained.

Council agreed, with the exception of Councillor Carl Bromwich, to bring the recommendation back to committee for further discussion. 

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