When the federal government increases your tax rate, do you expect your rate of pay to go up as a result to offset that hike?
Or when your property taxes increase, does your pay change to offset that?
Forgive our sarcasm on this, but how then can Chatham-Kent council so easily justify increasing its own collective pay after the federal government removed a clause that considered a third of the income of municipal councillors as tax free?
Mayor Darrin Canniff will now receive an annual salary of $110,000, up from $93,605, and councillors will be paid $32,000, an increase from $27,700.
To councillors and the mayor, we appreciate you choosing to represent the people of Chatham-Kent and working on their behalf. We would think you all have their best interests at heart when you serve them.
This raise certainly does not have those interests front and centre. It’s a selfish move, plain and simple.
Yes, you would have otherwise been taking home less money than prior to the federal changes in taxation. But now you’ve added $97,000 a year (a number that includes additional labour burdens) onto the backs of local ratepayers.
It will take the taxes from about 32 average homes in Chatham-Kent to cover that pay hike. Those funds could better be utilized elsewhere.
And don’t bother comparing what other municipal politicians make in cities of similar population. We are very unique here. We have a population of 100,000 people, but they are spread out over a larger area than all of Prince Edward Island.
Low population density of about 43 people per square kilometre puts pressure on our ratepayers to cover a host of services and needs. This affects our ability to pay, something that should be at the forefront of council decisions when it comes to increasing taxes and hiking pay.
Voting against the increase were new councillors Amy Finn and John Wright. Finn said she didn’t get into municipal politics for the money. We hope that’s the case for everyone who seeks municipal office. It’s a calling to serve the public.
Need we even mention the fact that C-K councillors, in their part-time jobs, now make thousands more annually than a person paid minimum wage working 40 hours a week?