Council and municipal staff salaries are not reflecting what's going on in society, contends one senior living in Langley City.
Pensioner Rhys Griffiths said salaries make up the largest component of the municipal budget and residents are having to pay for increases for council and staff at a time when others are not seeing increases.
"Is it in keeping with what is going on in society?" he questioned at a City budget meeting Feb. 18.
Council gave third reading to the financial plan on Monday evening.
Langley City is looking at a 2.63 per cent tax increase. That would translate to $61 for a home valued at $459,000 but only a $6 increase for a condo worth $210,000 because condo assessments declined this year.
The City is about to enter negotiations with CUPE and its firefighters' union. Often settlements are based on what neighbouring municipalities agree to, noted City administrator Francis Cheung.
"There have been some patterns set within the region," he said.
New Westminister settled with CUPE for 6.75 per cent over four years and that is expected to impact other municipal contracts.
"Our negotiating staff are going to do the best job possible," commented Mayor Peter Fassbender. "What we won't do is put our position in the public before we sit down to negotiate."
Griffiths said he's concerned that at least 40 City staff make more than $100,000.
"That's the way the mop flops but it seems astounding to me," he said.
The City received one email submission about its budget. Resident Pam Reid noted that the world has been in a global financial crisis since 2008 and everywhere has had to tighten belts and cut back so the City should as well. She acknowledged that the tax increase is small.
"But in the eyes of the tax paying individual who has paid, and paid and paid, it is a small but significant increase. When does it stop? When does the tax payer actually get a reprieve?"
The increase will generate an additional $295,090 and another $160,000 through a new 0.75 per cent which will be put away in a reserve fund for infrastructure costs.
In contrast, resident Paul Albrecht lauded the City and staff for what he sees as a reasonable budget.
The complete budget documents are at www.city.langley.bc.ca.