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LETTER: Colwood council’s pay hike too rich for taxpayers

A proposed 100 per cent raise for Colwood’s mayor and council is more than a little rich, it’s tone deaf,.

The committee-of-the-whole proposal, if approved by council on Aug. 29, would bring the mayors’ salary to $61,054 and council salary to $30,527. The mayor is also paid $14,000 as a director for sitting on the Capital Regional District, plus $7,000 in an annual expense allowance.

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

We challenge the council to come up with anyone else in B.C., in the private or public sector, that’s looking at a 100 per cent raise this year.

A huge wage increase just before an election, in the middle of the summer during holidays when there’s less media and public scrutiny, would be unfortunate. A huge wage increase is also unfortunate when taxpayers are coping with a major hike in inflation and wages that are not keeping pace.

At 4.3 per cent, Colwood had the third highest increase in municipal taxes of all 13 Greater Victoria municipalities in 2022.

We urge council to consider phasing in a more realistic wage increase over five years, which was one of the options presented in the council remuneration review.

Colwood is to be commended for establishing an independent citizen committee to study the question of council remuneration and to make recommendations. Any approved hikes would be effective for the incoming council.

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

Taxpayers should have regular access to the remuneration and expenses paid to council on its website. It’s been done by Saanich and Victoria for years. As well, it’s recommended that financial disclosure statements for council be posted annually for taxpayer review.

Stan Bartlett, vice-chair

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria

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