Regional council to discuss giving themselves a raise

CKTB News- Regional pay hike

Outrageous? That's how one St. Catharines regional councillor describes a proposed pay hike that will go before council next week.

Members of the region's Corporate Services Committee voting in favour of boosting regional councillors salaries by 2.9%.

If approved by council, that means councillor's pay would increase from $32,900 to $38,400.

Councillor Laura Ip addressed the committee, calling the increase 'tone deaf' to what is happening in respect to income and poverty throughout Niagara.

"I don't agree with the increase or the methodology we used to determine increases, but as I appear to be in the minority based on previous meetings, there should be an effort at the very least to phase in any increase rather than hitting taxpayers with it all at once."

Regional Commissioner of Enterprise Resource Management Services Todd Harrison responded to questions about the methodology used to determine the proposed increase, saying, "The recommendation that council previously made was to get Doctor Sancton to provide a methodology and that was adopted, that was the methodology. I guess if the committee feels that that would be something that needs to be reviewed again, we could consider it. But certainly we've met that by having Dr. Sancton provide those comments, and those were adopted."

Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop did attempt to make an amendment to have staff put together a report regarding how much it would cost to review the methodology.

The amendment was defeated 7 - 4.

The pay hike would be compensation after recent tax changes no longer allow one third of councillor's incomes to be nontaxable.