City of Terrace workers have healthy wage increases to look forward to with the signing of a three-year contract.
The agreement finalized last week with the Canadian Union of Public Employees is for two per cent a year in each of the next three years, meaning the city will pay $593,757 more in wages after the full increase is in effect.
There’s also a .6 per cent increase in benefits for employees but how much is actually spent will depend upon how employees draw from their benefits.
The city is also raising the wages of staff who aren’t union members by the same percentage as the union contract, a dollar value of $160,050 over the three-year period.
Under the new contract, for example, a road foreman’s wage will rise from $37 an hour to approximately $40 an hour over the three years while a labourer or refuse disposal attendant’s hourly wage would rise from $25 to 26.50.
There are also other factors adding to the city’s wage bill – an additional planner was hired as was a full-time executive assistant last year.
City council is contemplating hiring a full-time bylaw enforcement officer while the leisure services department has included an additional seasonal parks worker in its preliminary budget.
According to city corporate administrator Alisa Thompson at an upcoming committee of the whole meeting council will look at what the implication of the bylaw enforcement officer and extended hours for a city gardener would be.
One possible scenario would be council having to raise taxes, as opposed to the freeze in rates which the city is considering in its preliminary budget.
“We could raise taxes,” said Thompson. “We have to have a balanced budget … [but] they don’t have to have a tax increase, they could cut services.”