A city alderman is calling on his fellow aldermen to support a motion to cut the 5.5 per cent council pay hikes in half.

Ald. Andre Chabot is putting forward a motion on Jan. 26 to cut the pay increase to 2.75 per cent, a move he says hasn’t been well received by council members.

“I think it would be good for us to lead by example. I said we would cut spending wherever possible, so why not start here,” Chabot said.

Chabot knows he has a tough road ahead of him and while Ald. Ric McIver supports the motion, he isn’t sure where everyone else stands.

“But I rather someone put forth an amendment to cut it down to 3.3 per cent or 3.5 per cent, instead of it failing altogether, and I would support that.”

While Scott Hennig, director of the Canadian Taxpayers Association, says he supports the lower pay increases, he worries about the consequences of putting the power back into council’s hands to decide their own salaries.

“It’s nice now to save the taxpayers two or three per cent, but what about when things are better next year and they can more than make up for it with 10 or 20 per cent increases?” Hennig said.

Hennig said they never had a problem with the 5.5 per cent increase to begin with, since it was decided out of the hands of council based on the private sector.

Ald. Bob Hawkesworth agrees that allowing council to decide their own salaries again is a bad idea.

“It will always be seen as a conflict of interest for council to decide these things on our own. I am extremely reluctant to support something that in my opinion is a step backwards.”

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