David M. Bourgeault

Dear Mike:
The headline for my letter does not fully explain my feelings regarding the recent decision by our mayor and council to give themselves a raise.
In my humble opinion, the timing was not right for an increase in the monies paid to local elected officials. I fully agree with Coun. Hallikas for voting against the motion to increase the stipend and I agree with his reasons for doing so.
I would be the first to admit that the money paid for the position is low given the amount of time and effort required to do it well. I sat there for six years and know what it takes to be a councillor—and how much time is expended doing so.
My disappointment stems from the fact that the mayor and council have not shown the leadership required when times are tough. We have businesses in town not doing well, we have a mill coming out of bankruptcy with numerous questions about what will happen, we have seniors trying to maintain their own homes on shrinking disposable income and no cost-of-living increases to their pensions, and we have many living here below the poverty level.
The population is shrinking, all costs are increasing, the province keeps downloading services, and here we have a council increasing its operating costs.
The increase you voted yourselves could have been put off for a time when the outlook locally is somewhat better.
While raising a family here, I used to listen to our children complain when either received something the other didn’t. Mayor and council are acting like children when the excuse given for the raise was due to the fact that neither the province nor other municipalities showed any restraint, so why should we?
This is shameful, folks!
David M. Bourgeault
Fort Frances, Ont.