At a regional district town hall meeting last year in Okangan Falls, a resident asked RDOS Finance Manager Warren Everton why the budget included an increase every year.
“Why not zero per cent?”asked the resident, to which Everton basically answered that the increase was to cover the expected increase in costs of goods and services year to year.
Such an action might be reasonable in a perfect world – however, these days, few private sector budgets – and increasingly at the provincial and federal levels fewer public budgets – can afford this type of accounting luxury.
That’s why we think last week’s negotiations between the Village of Keremeos and its union staff strikes us as a bad deal.
Negotiations and ratification took less than a day, and it appears to us that the union made out about as well as it could expect to, given today’s economic climate.
We’re sure they are quite happy with the result of these so called “negotiations”.
Wages and salaries account for 77 per cent of the village’s annual tax revenue. One and a half and two per cent over two years is going to add substantially to wage costs in the village – ask any senior resident taxpayer in the village if he/she will see similar increases in their pensions over that time period.
Along with the province’s “net zero” policy to non-union positions, the current provincial mandate calls for wage increases to be financed by savings in other parts of unionized operations. Did this happen at the Village of Keremeos negotiations table?
The province is setting an example for municipalities to follow – so why aren’t B.C. municipalities embracing the province’s net zero wage mandate?
That was a question recently posed by Canadian Taxpayers Federation B.C. Director Jordan Bateman to Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore and Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard.
It’s a question we’re asking of Keremeos, too.