When the next city council is set in October, they will be getting paid a little more than the current one is. To offset a tax exemption that will disappear in 2019 from the federal government, a Councillor’s salary will go up approximately $5,000. With a change coming next term of around $34,000 to $50,000, a Councillor would make $55,000 a year. Mayor Bill Given says the problem comes as the tax exemption will be in effect when a new council has already started their term.
“That would be mean that the next council would have to discuss and do something with their own salaries. That is something we have worked on over the years to avoid. We have a practice of current city council members not voting on their own salary.”
He says the same goes for the pay for the mayor.
“Currently, one third of the Mayor’s salary is tax exempt. The federal government is changing that by 2019. Council decided we should do away with that even sooner. Next election, the Mayor’s salary will be fully taxable.”
There will be $11,000 added to the base salary of $91,474 for that position starting after the next municipal election.
The city is also looking at changing the mileage Councillors can claim. Right now, they are able to claim all travel including driving to and from city hall. They are looking to change that to only include travel that is outside of city limits. Currently, they can get 55 cents per km on the road and a full refund for any expenses for airfare and lodging. The per diem costs will stay the same for Councillors.
“The committee recommended there be no changes to that amount because it is in line with other municipalities and sectors. They did recommend that the policy needed to be clarify exactly what events and meetings would qualify for per diems. Council accepted that recommendation and asked administration to present some revisions to that policy to look at in the future.”
When they have to travel out of the city for business related to council, they can claim $100 a day for a four hour day and $200 a day for anything more than a four hour stint.
Council members will also continue to have access to an annual $10,000 discretionary account for each elected official to cover costs of training, conferences, seminars, ticketed events, and meetings. They will be looking at and re-working what the guidelines look like for this account.