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Kingston, Ont. city council approves pay raise for next councillors

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Kingston, Ont. city council approves pay raise for next councillors
WATCH: Kingston city councillors will be giving the next council a pay raise, but they're in no mood to look at shrinking the size of council – Mar 23, 2022

Kingston, Ont., city councillors will be giving the next council a pay raise but they’re in no mood to look at shrinking the size of council.

Those were two of the recommendations from a citizen group that were debated at council Tuesday night.

A report from an arms-length Citizen’s Committee made a number of recommendations after examining the growing workload for councillors in a growing city like Kingston.

“This is a community committee that evaluates what councillors and the mayor, what their remuneration should be. How much they should be paid for the work that they do,” said Lindsey Foster, a member of the committee.

Read more: Kingston city council to vote on whether to return to in-person meetings

City council approved the ad hoc committee’s recommendation for the 2022-elected council to receive a modest pay hike.

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Councillors will make $45,000, and the next mayor will make $129,000.

“I think it’s very generous. If you look at minimum wage, you’re basically making a minimum wage salary. The vast majority of people who currently serve on council already have full time jobs or are retired from a public sector pension holding job, like being an educator,” said Coun. Simon Chapelle.

“But it’s really about public service for me, it’s not about, you know, a career so to speak. It’s about, ‘How do you give back to the community?”

Chapelle was the only vote against the raise, instead indicating the need for an assistant to help with the evolving role of councillors.

The amount of work involved in the job was one thing everyone could agree on around the horseshoe.

“I think it’s almost every council member or former council member that I’ve ever spoken to has said, “It’s part-time pay for a full-time job,” said Coun. Ryan Boehme.

Read more: Kingston city council considers fining landlords under amended nuisance party bylaw

“To have a full-time job and this responsibility as councillor is almost impossible I think,” added Coun. Gary Oosterhof.

Another recommendation to look into shrinking council to eight full-time councillors was rejected 5-8.

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“It wasn’t this council deciding whether or not to move from part time to full time, it was just instructing staff to find out what would be involved in studying that. So, the fact that they dismissed it outright is truly disappointing and I don’t quite understand that,” said Foster.

Council also decided against an additional four-per cent pay increase for councillors who sit on the planning committee, citing the need for further discussions.

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