Sundridge municipal staff wages to rise

·3 min read

Municipal staff in Sundridge will soon be getting a wage increase to reflect the sudden rise in inflation. Staff have been instructed by council to prepare a final report that will see their wages rise by 5.1 per cent, the rate of inflation reported in January. On top of the 5.1 per cent, staff will receive an additional one per cent boost in pay. The 6.1 per cent rise increases wages across the board for all staff by $53,000 but won't result in any tax increase to local ratepayers. Council achieved the increase by scaling back work at the Edgar Street Park and two other projects. The Edgar Street Park includes a full-size basketball court. Council originally intended to use the court as an ice rink during the winter. That would have required the municipality to use concrete instead of asphalt as the base because concrete will last longer. However, council got word that neighbouring Strong Township has been awarded a $500,000 grant for an outdoor ice rink and Coun. Barbara Belrose told her colleagues Strong wants to get the rink in place this year. With an ice rink going ahead next to Sundridge, council has chosen not to put its own ice rink at the local basketball court. As a result, the basketball court will have an asphalt surface instead of concrete, which will cut about $45,000 from the cost of the project. Council will save a further $8,000 by scaling back work on the triptych sculpture at the Lake Bernard waterfront and Children's Garden, also at the waterfront. Another project council has talked about is creating a skateboard park, although the municipality had not yet committed any money toward the facility. Council also decided it won't make any financial commitment to the skateboard park this year. Council also considered its options should it change its mind in the future and opt for an ice rink at the basketball court. Deputy Mayor Shawn Jackson pointed out that by that point the surface will be made of asphalt and although some communities will lay an ice rink on an asphalt surface, Jackson said if there's inadequate drainage that would lower the lifespan of the playing surface in the long run. Council also discussed giving staff the 5.1 per cent raise and a further two per cent hike. But Coun. Steve Hicks said doing that would raise taxes by about $40 per household. Staff is expected to come back with a final report at the next meeting recommending the 6.1 percent wage hike with information on how the increase will be achieved.

Staff's first report to council proposed scenarios of 10 per cent and 20 per cent wage increases and the tax impact that would have on local ratepayers.

Council rejected those increases and directed staff to produce a second report.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget

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