BY ANDREW SMITH
LISTOWEL – North Perth council has approved a cost of living increase, giving themselves and municipal staff a small raise starting next year.
The cost of living report was presented at the Sept. 22 meeting, following Perth County council’s approval of the 1.43 per cent salary increase on Sept. 18. Coun. Matt Richardson recommended deferring the increase until next year’s budget discussion, gaining some support from Coun. Paul Horn. Coun. Warren Howard disagreed, saying that council could approve the raise in principle and review the matter come budget time.
“I’m very reluctant to penalize our staff if we get into financial trouble,” he said. “They’re our most important assets.”
Mayor Julie Behrns said it was a matter of “pay me now or pay me later” but that the municipality needs to stay current with the market salary.
“Every term of council, we go out and check our salaries against the market,” she said. “When everyone else has increased theirs and you didn’t, it becomes a substantial increase to catch up at that point.”
Howard moved the motion, seconded by Coun. Doug Kellum, with council voting in approval.
“Our staff are important to us, and this is a symbol of how we value them,” Howard said. “I think we’ve got to work around this.”