AH says no to landfill contractor’s proposal
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | October 19, 2017|
Algonquin Highlands council said no to Watson General Contracting’s proposed wage increase of three per cent, plus any increase in minimum wage, if, or when, it occurs, for 2018, and instead decided to extend the company’s contract as is.
The discussion came after Melissa Murray, the township’s environmental coordinator, and Mike Thomas, public works director, submitted a report requesting council to accept the request from Watson’s to extend their contract for landfill maintenance services at $17.41 per hour, plus any increase in minimum wage as it occurs, plus applicable taxes, for the period of January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. The request also included the option to extend the contract for one more year.
Mayor Carol Moffatt asked councillors if they thought the proposal was fair.
“There are a lot of small businesses that are concerned about the potential impact of the minimum wage increase,” said Moffatt. “We are being asked to commit to an unknown amount of money and essentially ensure this particular small business is impact free from that minimum wage increase off the backs of taxpayers.”
The proposal was “very fair,” suggested councillor Brian Lynch, adding Watson’s can’t afford to reduce its hours to offset the minimum wage hike.
“They have to maintain their efficiency,” he said.
Other councillors, however, disagreed, including Coun. Marlene Kyle, who said it would be unwise for the township to agree to the three per cent increase, in addition to offsetting the minimum wage hike, prior to budget discussions slated for early next year.
She said she would suggest a 1.5 or two per cent increase.Deputy mayor Liz Danielsen agreed with Kyle and called the proposal “double dipping.”
Council ultimately suggested staff go back to Watson and recommend they extend their current contract that includes an hourly rate of $16.91, until March 2018, when the minimum wage hike is known and budget discussions are complete.
The township is still waiting to hear back from Watson’s, Thomas told The Highlander Monday.
Contract rates for Watson have steadily increased annually since 2014, when it started at $15.78 and rose by two per cent for the following two years, and then by three percent in 2017, according to the staff report.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.