Sunday, June 16, 2024

Thoughts on Municipal Salary Costs

Letter to the Editor

Editor,

You recently reprinted the Mayor’s message, re: “certain misrepresentations about the budget by some residents.” In the interest of fairness and objective reporting, I along with other residents, especially rural residents, want to point out that, yes we agree that there was a mistake wherein a letter writer said the salaries were approximately $6,500,000. Senior management uses the Full Time Equivalent of 80 employees. This works out to over $80,000 per employee which includes all benefits to the labour force of the municipality, so in effect she was correct.

However, in reporting the actual salaries of full time staff at $3,954,479 in the 2016 budget, she fails to indicate that the average salary of the 59 full time employees is $67,025. With benefits of roughly 20%, the average total wages and benefits up to over $80,000 per full time employee.

The resident may have had the original salary number wrong but his point was that the average salary plus benefits for a Full Time employee is almost 2X the average salary of a resident in Meaford. He was very close to the actual average wage and benefits of the Full Time staff.

Our total wage and benefits costs as a percentage of total revenue are 22% higher than the average labour costs to total revenue of the other comparative municipalities in the Ward Uptigrove report commissioned by senior management. Meaford’s total revenue is the sixth highest of the 17 municipalities. With the added revenue from Meaford Hall, campground, and marina, which most municipalities do not have, Meaford’s wage cost percentage should be closer to the average but it is not. This excessive total wage cost represents about $1,000,000 in additional costs and is one of the reasons Meaford’s individual tax rate (exclusive of County and Education rates) is one of the highest in Grey County.

The Mayor can complain about misrepresenting of numbers by certain residents but it would be a real nice New Year if she along with the other councillors realize that the high level of spending and the subsequent high local tax rate is unsustainable, and start addressing the real issues that are affecting our municipality.

Barry Vallier, Annan

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