City councillors ‘entitled to their entitlements’ in Red Deer, Alberta; predictably download Trudeau tax bite onto local ratepayers

by Garfield Marks

A pay raise by any other name is still a pay raise.

The mayor and city council of Red Deer just voted themselves an 18% and 14% pay increase to offset a federal subsidy they enjoyed, unlike the normal taxpayers.

On March 22, 2017 the federal government tabled a budget that would eliminate the 1/3 tax free subsidy to politicians on January 1, 2019.

On October 16, 2017 we had a municipal election where we re-elected Mayor Veer and Councillors Lee, Johnson, Wong, Handley, Wyntjes, and Buchanan. We also elected newcomers Higham and Dawe as councillors.

My point is that they ran, knowing that the subsidy they enjoyed for years would end 14 months after the election. At least Mayor Veer and Councillors Lee, Johnson, Wong,Handley, Wyntjes and Buchanan would have, if not they should have known. Newcomers Councillors Higham and Dawe should have been told by the city.

Good money managers would have prepared for the end of a federal subsidy. We pride ourselves of being more free market and less government hand-out proponents and yet here we are looking for hand outs from the Red Deer taxpayers.

Councillors Higham, Handley and Buchanan wanted to delay this issue and look at the overall compensation package and whether the council position should be deemed a full-time position but it failed to pass.

The mayor broke the tie and voted herself a $19,741.49 pay increase to see her pay rise from $112,198.94 to $131,940.49 because she felt, in my opinion, entitled to her entitlements.

Councillors Lee, Johnson, Buchanan and Wong voted them selves $8,151.72 pay increase to see their pay rise from $60,466.44 to $68,618.16.

Councillors Handley, Wyntjes, Higham and Dawe voted against the raise. Councillor Dawe said that we are and will be asking taxpayers for restraint so felt uncomfortable giving himself a raise.
Councillor Handley thought it could better handled on the expense council side of compensation, Councillor Lee worried about receipts, time and money. Talks about transparencies but would it not be more transparent to reimburse receipted expenses than just giving out $8,151.72 and $19,741.49 pay raises?

I know many people who put in long hours for free out of necessity or a sense of duty. I know people who work full time and have two other jobs and make less than a councillor, yet they cannot vote themselves a raise to cover the extra bills and taxes imposed on them by this municipal government.

I know many people who put in long hours for free out of necessity or a sense of duty. I know people who work full time and have two other jobs and make less than a councillor, yet they cannot vote themselves a raise to cover the extra bills and taxes imposed on them by this municipal government.

I actually thought that this council would not vote themselves a raise even if ten other councils did. What about the hundreds perhaps thousands of village, town, city councils and public, private and separate school boards, across Canada, dealing with this same issue?

When it comes to making tough decisions involving themselves, I know 5 who couldn’t step up to the plate.

Every household will now have to pay $2 a year more to subsidize nine fairly well-off people.

I know they put in a lot of hours, I know they enjoy the job, but there are so many who work even more hours and make a lot less, but they have no cookie jar to reach in to guarantee their net pay. Probably out of a hundred thousand residents you might find a dozen including these nine lucky ones.

Enjoy your hand outs. Just saying.

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