By Cole Parkinson
As tax benefits for elected officials are being removed come 2019, Horizon Board of Trustees has raised their monthly compensation to accommodate the change.
During the board’s organizational meeting on October 24, they had a chance to discuss what changes were coming down federally.
“As you are aware, we brought forward last month to the trustees that effective January 1, 2019, the federal government has changed how elected officials income is taxed.
Historically, probably for the last 50 or 60 years at least, a third of an elected municipal officer’s income has been tax exempt. What they called that third is, it was called the municipal officer’s expense allowance. It kind of represented various costs that the trustee might occur in the performance of their duties. That is being changed now. The full amount of a trustee’s allowance becomes taxable,” said Phil Johansen, associate superintendent of finance and operations.
Current remuneration for Horizon is $16,794.98 for the chair, 14,607.81 for the vice-chair and $14,267.58 for trustees.
While the $100 bump will cover some of the additional loss due to the tax changes, the board will still see a slight decrease in compensation.
“A $100 increase does not actually fully offset the impact of the change is taxation policy,” stated Johansen.
In terms of other school divisions, Horizon is at the bottom end of compensation, according to Johansen.
Even with the slight proposed monthly raise, they will still be near the bottom when looking at board trustee compensation.
“If you take the pay plus benefits and look at the total compensation of trustees in our division receives, you see you are already the lowest paid jurisdiction in the south. An additional $100 a month would move you to about $15,700 annually in total compensation. That would still be below several of these jurisdictions and we don’t know as of yet what these other jurisdictions have done with this change. There are discussions that they may be doing the same thing,” explained Johansen.
The motion was approved unanimously by the board.