Town to select new mayor on Feb. 5

The Compass - - OPIN­ION -

She de­clined an in­ter­view when con­tacted on Fri­day, but said her res­ig­na­tion is “not just the pay issue.”

A coun­cil meet­ing is sched­uled for Tues­day, Feb. 5, and a new mayor is ex­pected to be ap­pointed at that time. There’s also an at­tempt be­hind the scenes to try and re­solve the dis­pute, The Com­pass has learned.

Laracy did not ad­dress the issue when con­tacted by The Com­pass, but Dawe said he was dis­ap­pointed the pay raise was re­jected.

He said coun­cil em­ploy­ees have not seen an in­crease in two years, and the cost of liv­ing is steadily go­ing up.

“I stood up for the em­ploy­ees to try to give them a raise. You can’t have peo­ple work­ing for noth­ing,” Dawe stated.

“I be­lieve they de­served a small in­crease.”

Town in ‘hard shape’

Ac­cord­ing to the town’s 2013 mu­nic­i­pal op­er­at­ing bud­get, which was ap­proved last month, the town has bud­geted just over $31,000 for salaries this year, and just over $69,000 for gen­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion. That’s on an over­all bud­get of $555,760.

Coun­cil­lors agreed to re­duce the prop­erty tax rate from 9.5 to 7.5 mills in or­der to off­set the steep in­crease in the as­sessed value of prop­er­ties in the town. De­spite this, the town’s rev­enues will in­crease by about 5.5 per cent this year, or roughly $33,000.

Un­ex­pected ex­penses for ve­hi­cle main­te­nance — $15,000 to re­place the trans­mis­sion in the garbage truck, for ex­am­ple — and is­sues with the wa­ter and sewer sys­tem in 2012 meant the town was un­able to make the fi­nal $52,000 pay­ment on its longterm debt in De­cem­ber. That ex­pense is be­ing car­ried over into 2013.

In light of all this, Coun. Con­nolly de­fended the de­ci­sion to re­ject the raise, say­ing the town is in “hard shape,” and there was “no money last month to pay the bills.”

He added that the back­hoe is also out of com­mis­sion, re­quir­ing some $3,500 in re­pairs.

Coun. Furey said he was more ir­ri­tated by the lack of dis­cus­sion than the pro­posed pay in­creases.

“It was too rushed,” Furey said,

Cupids Deputy Mayor Ross Dawe (left) is pic­tured here with Ivy King, town clerk.

“I stood up for the em­ploy­ees to try to give them a raise. You can’t have peo­ple work­ing for

noth­ing. I be­lieve they de­served a small in­crease.” — Ross Dawe, deputy mayor,

Town of Cupids

adding he wanted to dis­cuss ways of en­sur­ing the coun­cil of­fice re­mains open year-round, even when the town clerk is on hol­i­days.

“Be­fore we start pass­ing out raises, we should look at the pos­si­bil­ity of hir­ing some­body for three or four weeks to keep the town open,” he said.

Furey said King is “good at her job,” and was “hasty” in her de­ci­sion to leave.

“Things could have been han­dled dif­fer­ently,” Furey noted.

Lacks sup­port

Laracy, mean­while, is a mu­nic­i­pal em­ployee with the neigh­bour­ing Town of Clarke’s Beach. He was elected to the Cupids town coun­cil dur­ing a 2008 by­elec­tion, and was re-elected in the 2009 mu­nic­i­pal gen­eral elec­tion.

There’s less than eight months re­main­ing in coun­cil’s four-year

COU­PLE ES­CAPES FIRE

term, and when asked why he couldn’t hang on un­til his man­date ex­pired, Laracy re­peated, “If I don’t have the time, it’s bet­ter to move aside and give some­one else a chance.”

When asked if he would seek the job, Dawe said he was “very doubt­ful,” and that he likely wouldn’t get the sup­port of a ma­jor­ity of his col­leagues if he did.

“Know­ing the sup­port that I had as head of the fi­nance com­mit­tee … that lack of sup­port, it’s hard to con­tinue with that in the mayor’s chair.”

When asked who might be the next mayor, Dawe replied: “Maybe some of these coun­cil­lors that seem to have a lot of an­swers that didn’t make too much sense to me will take it on.”

Dawe was also non-com­mit­tal when asked whether he will seek re­elec­tion in Septem­ber.

“It takes up a lot of your time, and I had a bout with can­cer last fall. I will have to se­ri­ously look at my health. When you’re up in your 60s, you have to con­sider how much time to de­vote to pub­lic causes. Re­tire­ment goes very quickly,” he said.

But Dawe said the town coun­cil has been very ef­fec­tive, and man­aged to fully cap­i­tal­ize on the Cupids 400 cel­e­bra­tions held in 2010.

“It was the big­gest cel­e­bra­tion any town of our size ever had in the province,” he said. “It was very suc­cess­ful and we had a lot of im­prove­ments made in the town.”

edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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