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Council strikes committee to review remuneration

How much should we pay the mayor and members of city council?

It’s an issue that comes up with some regularity, primarily because the city is mandated to review, during the last year of a term, the remuneration given to elected officials.

The council remuneration bylaw requires that a review, compared to other municipalities, be conducted by an advisory committee comprised of members of the public by the second quarter of the last year of each council’s term. With the next municipal election slated for October 20, the independent review should be conducted before June 30, 2018.

The last review, done in 2011, pegged mayor’s stipend at $92,787.89 per year and councillors at $30,929.30 per year on Jan. 1, 2012. Each year since, the stipends increased by either the annual per cent wage increase for the city’s exempt staff or the average increase for the public administration industry as published by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, whichever was lower.

“This is part of our regular bylaw,” said Coun. Garth Frizzell. “This happens towards the end of every term. It’s always an awkward moment because it can be seen as a grab for council towards wage.”

He said the perception is that council could give itself a raise, however, the increase, if approved, will not take effect until the next council is sworn in. Granted, some members of the current council may be on that new council, but there is no guarantee.

He said new tax rules for elected officials come into effect in January, 2019, so many municipalities are looking at remuneration.

“It’s been a process that’s tried and true,” said Coun. Murry Krause of the advisory committee process. “When people hear a portion of our stipend is tax-free, I think it’s important to acknowledge that was in light of the fact we go to a lot of community events and it’s to help compensate for that.”

Council agreed to strike the advisory committee and set it to work.

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