Mike Carter, Chetwynd Echo
CHETWYND – Mayor Merlin Nichols of the District of Chetwynd has suggested that council put the remuneration bylaw on the back burner until they have had enough time to reconsider whether it is a good idea to vote-in a 17.46 per cent pay raise for the mayor and a 49.6 per cent pay raise for councilors.
The pay raise bylaw was first tabled at a Feb. 3 meeting, where it was given first, second and third readings.
It was then on the agenda for a Feb. 17 meeting, when mayor and council were supposed to vote on the bylaw for reconsideration and adoption.
This meeting however, was cancelled because there were not enough councilors present to meet a legal quota for business to be conducted. This is known as a “quorum.”
This meant the bylaw went forward to the first meeting in March, held this past Monday March 3, for reconsideration and adoption.
Mayor Nichols said at this week’s meeting that he believed council should delay voting on the approval of the pay raise bylaw until “further work can be done.”
When asked to explain what further work needed to be done Nichols said, “I think we will have to simply reflect on it more, whether we should pursue it the way it is or not. It needs more development.”
A small number of citizens have contacted the mayor with their concerns over the pay raise bylaw, which if implemented, would see the mayor’s wages jump from $30,999 in 2013 to $36,414 in 2016.
Councilor’s wages would go up more drastically, rising from the $10,290 they made in 2013, to $15,398 in 2016.
Chetwynd resident and Chamber of Commerce board member Sheree Smith said during the public question period during the March 3 meeting that she believes mayor and council should wait until the election to allow the residents of Chetwynd a chance to vote on the proposed pay raise bylaw.
“My opinion is that you run out your term at the existing wage, whatever the salary you knew when you were going in and put that item forward to the next mayor and council.”
Provincial elections for municipal governments will take place this year in November.
Mayor Nichols said that council would take Smith’s statement into consideration. The mayor said that when the pay raise bylaw returns to the table, it will have been modified.
“I just think that the whole issue needs more discussion than we have given it,” he added.