When I saw the difference between the payroll for the City of Prince Rupert and the City of Terrace, I must say I was a bit flabbergasted.
Now there are some things in there that make sense to me when it comes to the $5.6 million difference in payroll. At the top of that list is having a full-time fire department as opposed to a volunteer one – if there’s a fire at my house or in the neighbourhood, I like knowing that the people who respond are fully trained, have worked together as a team and are doing their job as opposed to still learning their duties and responding if they’re available. Secondly, Gord Howie’s salary makes sense when compared to Terrace – a new person in Terrace would be paid $140,000 while Mr. Howie has been at the helm of the City for years and years on end so you would expect raises during that time.
But the rest of it, to be honest is pretty perplexing and raises a lot of questions.
Why can the City of Terrace, with 1,000 fewer people, handle their municipal duties for $5.6 million dollars less and with 18 fewer people making $75,000 per year (there are seven fewer fire fighters listed in Terrace than Prince Rupert, which leaves another 11 more people in Prince Rupert)? The per capita payroll payout (amount per citizen) works out to $982.57 per person in Prince Rupert and $581.57 per person in Terrace – that should raise some flags.
How do staff in Terrace claim $59,259 while staff in Prince Rupert claim $192,427 and Mr. Howie claims almost half of what the 17 employees making over $75,000 per year in Terrace claim.
I don’t think you would find much of a difference in how the people of Terrace feel about their City services and how the people of Prince Rupert feel about theirs, I’ve heard the same complaints about potholes and tidiness and whatnot in both places, so where is the justification? All of this has to be taken in the context of a City that cut grants to community groups last year and repeatedly emphasizes the financial challenges facing the municipality and raise taxes year after year.
I can see some difference in the employment costs, with a full-time fire department among them, but to me $5.6 million seems more than a little high.