Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sandra Kulyk presented details for a 2.8 per cent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for the town employees at the Nov. 26 regular Coronation town council meeting.
This would result in a budget increase of approximately $15,545 in 2019, which would be in addition to the three per cent Salary Grid Adjustmentcouncil approved in October that added an increase of $21,000 to the budget.
After four votes and much consultation amongst the councillors, it was decided there would be no COLA this year.
The COLA is based on the October Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Alberta published by Statistics Canada and it is 2.8 per cent with the whole of Canada sitting at 2.4 per cent.
Coronation refers to the CPI annually to decide whether they will implement a pay increase.
COLA is not to be confused with the Salary and Wage Grid review that happened in October.
COLA refers to a wage or benefit increase that is designed to help the user keep pace with increased living costs that result from inflation, whereas the Salary and Wage Grid Adjustment review looks at municipalities in the area and compares wages of similar job descriptions to see if these jobs are being compensated on an equitable pay scale.
“If we never adjust for inflation that is why we had to do the grid adjustment wasn’t it?” stated Deputy Mayor Ron Checkel when council discussed that in 2017 there was only a 1.3 per cent COLA and none in 2016.
“I don’t know anybody else that got a raise last year,” replied Coun. Jackie Brigley.
Coun. Keith Griffiths made a motion to raise the COLA by 2.4 per cent. “We need to be competitive to attract good, qualified employees.” The six other councillors opposed his motion.
Coun. Vicky Horkoff went on to make a motion for one per cent COLA.
This motion was not carried either with a 5 – 2 vote.
Checkel suggested that if no one is going to make a motion for zero COLA then he will try for two per cent. This motion was also defeated 5 – 2.
In the end Coun. Brett Alderdice recommended not adjusting the COLA this year and this resulted in a 5 – 2 vote in favour, settling the matter.
Town council will be reviewing the 2019 Capital Budget for the Shirley McClellan Regional Water Commission to see if increased water rates are needed for the new year.
The Stettler Water Treatment plant is anticipating a rate increase due to maintenance repairs and rising insurance costs. This, in turn, will affect Coronation as this is where the town gets its water from.
Food Explorers program Coronation & District Support Services was successful in obtaining a grant for $5,400 from Food Banks Canada which they used to fund their Food Explorers Program.
This program delivers education to children who utilize the food bank.
The focus is on building knowledge and confidence around food, kitchen skills, meal preparations, nutrition and making positive food choices.
Coun. Brigley has been getting complaints from citizens informing her that people are not adhering to traffic laws and are parking on the wrong side of the street.
Checkel attended the Seniors Housing annual tenant meeting.
The poor condition of the sidewalks at Windsor Manor was brought up as a safety concern.
A suggestion to repair the sidewalks and make a wheelchair access at the curb was mentioned.
Mayor Stannard commented that perhaps a review of all the town’s sidewalks is in order.