Bill 148 may not affect municipal budgets as drastically as originally expected.

The province is proposing to exempt municipal employees that provide essential services, such as firefighters, utility workers and snow plow operators, from the bill.

Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin says if the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act would have passed as currently written, the township budget would have increased by as much as $821,354.69 in 2018.

Devolin adds it would have cost Minden more than $630,000 if the township had to pay its volunteer firefighters to be on call.

While he is pleased with the proposal to amend the bill, Devolin adds he is surprised it made it passed the second reading before any meaningful changes were made.

Part of the proposed bill includes increasing the minimum wage to $14 an hour by the new year.