The city’s next mayor will make more than $100,000 a year.
Meanwhile, the next six city councillors will receive just over $36,000 a year.
It’s a major raise from the current salary of $87,942 for the mayor and annual honouraria of $20,496 for councillors.
The change was approved in a 4-3 vote by the current council Monday for third reading of the remuneration bylaw for the next council.
Councillors Jocelyn Curteanu, Samson Hartland and Dan Boyd voted against the increase.
Council typically approves the pay for the next council in the year leading up to an election.
City staff brought forward the proposed increases for this year.
They presented figures for both the full-time role as mayor and part-time roles of councillors that took into account impending changes to the federal tax regime.
Under those changes, a portion of remuneration currently exempt from income tax will be taxed beginning in 2019.
That essentially was to ensure the take home pay would remain the same for the roles.
That set the mayor’s salary at $101,100, and would have set the honouraria for councillors at $24,315.
The hike to $36,036 came out of another report showing many other cities of similar size in western Canada pay their part-time councillors an average of 36 per cent of the mayor’s full-time salary.
“For incoming councillors, comparative data from cities with roughly similar populations in Western Canada indicates that a rationale exists to set councillors’ salaries at 36 per cent of the mayor’s salary,” it was highlighted in a report to council.
“This calculation would set the ratio of councillors’ salaries to the mayor’s at both the average and median of that ratio in comparable communities.”
Before the vote Monday, Hartland reiterated his previous arguments that now is not the right time for such huge increases, given the property tax and fee increases the city has imposed (see story, p. 2) and the expenses the city is facing.
During previous votes on the raise, Hartland suggested the current pay has not prevented anyone from seeking a seat on council.
He pointed out that the 2015 election – where three candidates ran for mayor and 22 vied for the six councillor seats – drew a “crop of council candidates from all walks of life.
“I don’t believe remuneration is a barrier to run,” he said.
Curteanu stressed she continues to feel there should be a more detailed assessment on the amount councillors make elsewhere.
It would take into account factors like the responsibilities of each municipality such as policing and so on.
Boyd had been in favour of a pay boost to $24,315 for councillors.
However, he has been vocal in his opposition to the hike to $36,036. He reminded his colleagues of the tax increases property owners are facing and the city’s stated desire to keep costs down.
Coun. Rob Fendrick, meanwhile, noted Monday that the increase is “catch-up” that would have to be done at some point anyway. It should have been done years ago, Fendrick said.
Municipal elections throughout the territory are scheduled for Oct. 18.