Grey County councillors will get a raise in 2023, but it will be less than originally budgeted.
On Jan. 27, county council held a special meeting to go over the draft 2023 budget and the first cut they made was to their own pay cheques. The draft budget included a 5.9 per cent increase for council salaries, which immediately raised eyebrows around the council table.
The proposed 5.9 per cent increase was not a choice made by council or staff. It is the policy of the county to base cost of living increases for county councillors on the Consumer Price Index on July 31 of the previous year. The proposed increase represented $29,200 in real dollars.
“I’m having some difficulty, Mr. Warden, with that level based on where other agreements are coming in,” said Chatsworth mayor Scott Mackey.
During the discussion, it was noted that the county’s senior management team will not receive a cost of living increase in the budget and the increase for non-union staff is two per cent.
Mackey proposed the 5.9 per cent be lowered to 1.49 per cent and all of council agreed and directed staff to make the change. Mackey noted that council had directed staff to reduce the original overall increase in the draft budget from 3.66 per cent to 1.49 per cent and that same number should apply to council’s salaries.
Meaford Mayor Ross Kentner said all municipalities were experiencing tough budgets in 2023 and said councillors needed to do their part to help lower tax increases.
“We just can’t be part of the problem in my view,” said Kentner.