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LETTER: High wages are killing City of Port Alberni’s budget

To the Editor

To the Editor,

The City of Port Alberni payroll costs are out of control.

The City of Port Alberni signed a five-year contract with CUPE from 2019 to 2023. A two percent wage increase was given in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and a 2.25 percent wage increase in 2023. Presently, a labourer working in the Parks department is paid $32.19 per hour or around $64,000 for a yearly wage.

Looking at the City of Port Alberni financial statements proves that the city cannot afford wage increases constantly on a regular basis. Other cities, such as St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, have gotten creative by offering lower to no wage increases with signing bonuses instead of layoffs.

The City of Port Alberni management team and city council have to stop being Mr. Nice Guy, as the taxpayers of Port Alberni can no longer afford these outrageous pay rates. Another option is to contract out the public works yard department to a private contractor. The winning contractor bid would have a contract for a five-year term. The contractor would receive all work orders from the City of Port Alberni public works superintendent.

The City of Port Alberni management team and council cannot seem to balance a budget, so immediately just raise property taxes.

Joe Sawchuk,