PORT HAWKESBURY: Town councillors in Port Hawkesbury have decided to hold-off on the option of giving themselves a pay raise.

The pay raise, which would have come into effect in January, was recommended by the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities (NSFM) as a way to off-set the upcoming tax changes on one-third of the total salaries of elected officials.

Erin MacEachen, the town’s director of finance made a presentation to councillors advising the one-third portion of the stipend elected officials received tax-free, to off-set the expenses with travel, has been discontinued by the federal government, during December’s regular council meeting last Tuesday night.

MacEachen provided multiple scenarios to council on their options in regards to increasing their stipend and explained how each option would impact their budget.

“The Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities is advocating for adjusting salaries to mitigate the effects on elected officials.”

Town councillor Hughie MacDonald suggested council postpone the decision until after January 1, in light of the special election for the vacant town council seat.

“I think we should defer it to budgetary [deliberations] and any decision we make would be retroactive to January 1.”

Following the meeting, Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton, said council will wait until the vacant seat is filled before making their decision.

“It would be good to allow for that person who will be elected to be able to understand what’s occurring, and have a chance to weigh in.”

Along with allowing for total parity, Chisholm-Beaton said with council delaying their decision, it allows them to look at other municipalities and see what they’re doing.

During their regular council meeting in November, officials with the Municipality of the District of Guysborough voted against an increase to their stipends, something the warden didn’t want falling on the shoulders of their residents.