01/17/2015 02:01 EST | Updated 03/19/2015 05:59 EDT

Quesnel mayor and council revoke pay increase

The mayor and council of Quesnel, B.C. are giving up a wage increase in response to the city's financial difficulties.

The cost of living increase was passed prior to the last election in November 2014 and would have cost the city a total of $1,500.

The city has to find $575,000 in savings because of a recent mill closure and industrial tax reassessments.

Mayor Bob Simpson told Kelowna's Radio West that the move is about more than just money.

"It's the principal of the thing," said Simpson. "As we started with the budget process we felt it important to start with ourselves. I think it's not fair that we go to our community, our workers, and start there."

Councillors currently make about $1,000 a month.

Senior city staff have accepted a wage freeze, and the city will be looking for efficiencies by reducing "nice to haves" like travel budgets.

Staff cuts will come last.

"We're in a situation where every penny counts," said Simpson. "We didn't feel that we could avoid looking at ourselves."

Quesnel also has a $2 million infrastructure deficit, for which the city will have to raise taxes.

"If we want to be an attractive community we need to make sure to retain the amenities and the services to attract people to live here," said Simpson.

He said the city is expecting another wave of mill closures in the near future.

"So we're in this for a while," said Simpson.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Quesnel mayor Bob Simpon on revoking the city's pay increases