The Township of West Lincoln council voted at its Monday meeting to give itself a benefit package which could cost taxpayers as much as $42,000.
With the mayor of West Lincoln receiving just under $30,000 annually and councillors’ remuneration at just over $17,600, the new benefit package works out to 20 per cent and 34 per cent increase in compensation.
In a recorded vote only Coun. Dave Bylsma opposed the benefit package, while Mayor Doug Joyner and Councillors Jason Trombetta, Mike Rehner, Terry Bell, Joann Chechalk voted to approve.
Bylsma said the timing was all wrong for council to be considering such a measure.
“I don’t believe these types of increases or changes should be done mid-term,” said Bylsma, adding only four of 11 Niagara member municipalities having such a benefit for elected officials.
“Rather, they should be implemented after the next term, That way, we as council don’t benefit until the public has their say.”
Comments were made around the table, said Bylsma, which noted “there was little concern” from the public, since only one member of the public was in attendance at the council meeting.
“I think any increase larger than the cost of living should be implemented in the next term,” said Bylsma.
He acknowledged that the timing is unfortunate with the municipality having recently accepted a large sum of money for compensation for wind farm construction, but he does not believe the two are connected.
“The time we spent on the wind (farm) stuff did push it back, but I can honestly say that was not anyone’s intention,” he said.