Preparing for Budget 2.0

Here are a few thoughts about Councillor salaries and the Budget 2.0 meeting on April 10, 2017.

If you haven't checked out the agenda package for tomorrow's City Council meeting, here it is. I call it "trickle down" austerity. The budget-specific items start on page 75 and a list of proposed cuts on page 86. As it stands, I will not be supporting a budget that eliminates bus service on stat holidays. The following rationale was given: 

"No conventional bus service will be provided on stat. holidays effective July 1, 2017. This will not impact the services provided on Canada Day as this will be funded through Canada 150 funding. The ridership on stat. holidays is low and the service is provided at double time rates, thus the return on investment is minimal." 

This reason is weak and neglects the importance of holiday service for community members who don't drive and can't afford to take a cab. Public transit isn't supposed to produce returns; it's supposed to provide a service. This is the same logic that resulted in the winding down of the STC and I want no part of it. I'll be advancing a motion that sees this, and other services maintained.

Second, Councillor and Mayoral salaries. Why don't we just take a cut? Here's how things work. Also, for the record, I make about $37,000 as a Councillor.

Council salaries are determined by bylaw, which has been in effect since January 1, 2002
·         Salaries are set on January 1st every year as follows:
o   For the Mayor, at 77.3% of the annual salary payable to Cabinet Ministers
o   For councillors, at 1/3 of the Mayor’s annual remuneration
·         As Cabinet Ministers’ total salaries have been reduced through the remuneration they receive as an MLA (which is where the reduction is effectively taking place), there will be downward implications to Council salaries
·         As Council salaries are set automatically as of January 1st every year, the reduction impacting MLA salaries will be reflected in Council members’ salaries effective January 1, 2018