Kenora city council has narrowly agreed to pass the 2023 budget.

The final vote was 4-3 to approve the Operating budget.

Mayor Andrew Poirier was one of the dissenters.

“Personally, it was not a rate that I felt comfortable with,” said Poirier after last night’s open council meeting.

“I guess there was other councillors that felt differently and I respect their decisions.  It’s a democracy.  There were other councillors that we aligned together and thought it was a little too high.

Poirier admits this is the first time in 13 municipal budgets that he voted against the increase.

“These kind of increases cannot continue.  We are going to be at a point where they are not sustainable and it’s better to start now.   But we’re going to have to look at the process and look a lot more closely at the budget as we go forward.”

Overall, the tax rate will go up 5.36 percent, and the budget will include a compensation increase for non-union staff that will start retroactively on January 1st.

The open meeting started with a 20 minute in-camera session where councillors debated whether the compensation increase should be retroactive to January 1st, or begin on July 1, in order to save the city some money.

In the end, council voted 4-3 in favour of the January 1st start date in a recorded vote.

Mayor Poirier, councillor Barb Manson and Lisa Moncrief voted to start the compensation increase July 1st.