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LETTER: Colwood Council’s pay rise is too rich for the taxpayers

A proposed 100% raise for the mayor and council of Colwood is more than a little rich, it’s deaf.

The Committee of the Whole proposal, if approved by council on Aug. 29, would raise mayors’ salaries to $61,054 and council’s to $30,527. The mayor also receives $14,000 as a director to serve on the Capital Regional District, plus $7,000 in annual expense allowance.

With 93 local politicians in the Capital Region, we are the most governed jurisdiction in the world.

We challenge the board to find someone else in BC, in the private or public sector, who is looking at a 100% increase this year.

A huge pay rise just before an election, in the middle of summer during the holidays, when the media and the public are less scrutinized, would be unfortunate. A huge wage increase is also unfortunate when taxpayers face a sharp rise in inflation and wages that don’t keep pace.

At 4.3%, Colwood recorded the third highest municipal tax increase of Greater Victoria’s 13 municipalities in 2022.

We urge the board to consider phasing in a more realistic salary increase over five years, which was one of the options presented in the board compensation review.

Colwood is to be commended for establishing an independent citizens’ committee to study the issue of board compensation and make recommendations. All approved increases would be effective for the new board.

Finally, the growing municipality is also encouraged to improve transparency.

Taxpayers should have regular access to council salaries and expenses on its website. This has been done by Saanich and Victoria for years. In addition, it is recommended that the Board’s Financial Disclosure Statements be posted annually for review by ratepayers.

Stan Bartlett, Vice President

Grumpy Taxpayer $ from Greater Victoria

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