Why should we pay?

Dear sir:
If the mayor and council of the town of Smallville were employees of that town, business of council would come to a standstill (mmm, what a thought). For example, when the discussion of wages was brought up, each member would have to declare a conflict of interest.
I even would question the legality of any person who is a direct employee of the town to be able to sit on council, or be the mayor.
Are mayor and council employees of the town? No—they are given a mandate by the electorate to govern the town for a three-year term. They also are given an allowance to help offset time off from work, expenses related to the position, and to make the B.S. associated with being in the public eye a little bit easier to bear.
In our town, it is at best a part-time position, and never intended to take up the better part of a working day.
I have seen it quoted in this newspaper by a certain councillor that health care and dental benefits is an inherent right of council. Previous council saw an unfairness with the way that remuneration was paid to all the members of council and made a prudent, business-like decision to change that.
That was their right. Now every councillor’s remuneration is the same and the electorate knows what the exact cost for the mayor and every councillor is. That is fair, as well.
I would like to ask the mayor and council if they were aware of the remuneration package prepared for them when they let their names stand in last November’s election. If they were unhappy with what was set up for the new council on Dec. 1, 2003, why did they seek election.
You haven’t even been in office for a year and yet you are looking at giving yourself another raise—and you want it to be retroactive to the time of your last raise.
Maybe when you consider this amendment, you also should reconsider all of the changes that were made last Dec. 1. Maybe at the same time, you should roll back the mayor’s $4,000 raise and the councillors’ $500 raise, as I am sure these were given partially because of the loss of health and dental benefits.
Another point to consider is will the mayor and council receive a raise when the non-union employees get their hike after the town settles on a new contract with its unionized employees. I understand that this also could happen this year.
How many more percent remuneration will council assume from that raise? Have all of these raises been figured into the current budget, or are you going to just perform magic to come up with these funds?
I think this present council has about pulled the ears off of the rabbit in the hat and there is not much more to grab.
Mayor and council, I ask you: why should we, the electorate, pay for your health benefit package when numerous self-employed, low-income, pensioned, and part-time citizens are struggling to just pay the bills, and can’t afford their own basic health care package?
This “raise” that some of you think you are entitled to amounts to another one percent tax increase on residential taxes. Is that fair?
I agree with almost all of the comments made on the Opinion page of the Fort Frances Times over the past few weeks, but none of them affected me like the one from Mrs. Pearl Wardman.
And I quote, “In the past, they [councillors] were considered the best of the best, but now in my mind it has taken a complete turnaround. We voted in good faith for them, not expecting the greed that they now show (not all of them, thank God) and now it smells of a dictatorship instead of a democracy.
“I am totally ashamed of them, and hope they lose out in their attempts to do what they like regardless of the trusting people who voted them in.”
Mayor and council—please review my questions and concerns as they are not only mine but represent a large part of the people who pay the bills in this town and elected you to office. Is it right to expect the citizens to pay for your benefits?
Remember the tax increase, the sewer and water rate increase, the user fees increase, the new rates for burial and perpetual care, and the “bag tags.”
I know we will get our town back for the citizens on the next election day, but I hope that will happen long before. Two-and-a-half years is a long way away.
Signed,
Ken Perry
Fort Frances, Ont.