By Cole Parkinson
With a municipal election coming this fall, council has elected to make minor changes to their remuneration policy.
During their regular meeting on Feb. 16, amendments to the policy were brought forward after discussion and recommendations were made by the policy, bylaw and rates committee.
“We rounded off the mayor’s amount from $495 to $500 (a month). Council and deputy mayor is $300 (a month),” said Mayor Margaret Plumtree. “There’s a new council possibly starting this fall. Perhaps the deputy mayor will have more work. Just wondering if we wanted to look at raising that again. If the mayor isn’t here, the deputy mayor has to run the meeting and be more prepared.”
Meeting rates for regular council meetings and budget meetings are $90, committee of council meetings are $30 per day and a maximum of $200 per day.
Public hearings, special meetings of council, community forums held by council with mandatory attendance, appointed board, committee, foundation or society meetings, conference, seminar, workshop, training etc. held within the town are the same as committee of council meetings.
Attendance at appointed board, committee, foundation or society meetings, conference, seminar, workshop, training etc. held outside of town are the same as committee of council meetings except travel time is included.
Attendance at informal (public relations) activities over one hour (parades etc.), only mileage and meal reimbursement is available.
Coun. Richard Phillips asked why the recommendation was to increase remuneration.
“I’m just wondering how we’re justifying the increase?” he asked.
Council had taken zero increases over the past several years which was taken into consideration.
Another reason a bump up in wage was pointed to as a way to incentivize others to run for council this coming fall.
“We actually took a cut last two years, we went back a bit. The thought is the election is coming in October and make it somewhat appealing for people who may want to run for council,” said Coun. Kim Cawley, who also chairs the policy, bylaw and rates committee.
“My opinion is if you are putting up remuneration to attract people, you’re attracting the wrong people,” replied Phillips.
It was pointed out that being on council was a commitment that included many personal hours.
“There is something to that but at the same time, I think it’s nice to acknowledge people’s personal time they put into this. As a councillor, you don’t necessarily have a lot of individual meetings at the office but you do have committees that you would get paid at an hourly rate for which you’re at the meeting,” stated Plumtree.
In reviewing other nearby communities that were of similar sizes, the committee found they were on the lower side in terms of compensation.
“We did a comparison with some other communities and this comes closer to what other councillors are being paid,” continued Cawley.
“I don’t have any problems upping the hourly rate on participation in the committees and so on, I think it’s currently a little low,” responded Phillips.
“The basic monthly rate, I don’t see any problem with where it’s at right now. I fundamentally disagree with upping the rates to attract people because you’re attracting people who look at it as just a job rather than a form of community service.”
A motion to leave monthly at the old rate but accept all other recommendations for the policy was made but was defeated 5-2 with Phillips and Cawley voting in favour.
A second motion to accept all recommendations was then carried.