Whitehorse Daily Star

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PAY RAISE – Mayor Dan Curtis’ salary could jump to $101,100 from the current $87,942.

Major raise proposed for next councillors

It will soon be clear just how much members of the next council will make for their work for the city.

By Stephanie Waddell on February 6, 2018

It will soon be clear just how much members of the next council will make for their work for the city.

At Monday’s council meeting, current council members were presented once again with an administrative report proposing that remuneration for the next mayor and council of Whitehorse rise substantially.

That’s being recommended in light of impending changes to the federal tax regime where a portion of remuneration currently exempt from income tax will be taxed beginning in 2019.

The mayor’s salary would jump to $101,100 from the current $87,942 if it goes ahead as proposed.

Meanwhile, remuneration for councillors would climb by nearly $4,000 – from $20,496 to $24,315 – if it’s based only on the tax changes to ensure take-home pay remains the same.

However, the report brought forward by Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, is putting forward another option that would bring the pay up to $36,036.

As Constable explained, a $15,540 increase for councillors would bring Whitehorse closer to other communities in western Canada.

The figure, Constable said, is based on many other cities of similar size in the western part of the country having part-time councillors who make approximately 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,” Constable noted in the report.

“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.”

Under questioning by Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu, Constable confirmed that officials looked at factors like a community’s population and whether a councillor’s role is full- or part-time when making the comparison.

However, officials did not factor in other details like a municipality’s responsibilities, Constable said.

Council was provided with a graph detailing the Weninger Report. That document showed 18 municipal salaries of mayor and councillors, land size, population and when the salaries were adopted. All figures are those prior to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) changes.

Yellowknife is the only other capital city on the list, showing the mayor’s salary at $87,800 while councillors earn $20,496.

At the highest end of the range for communities of similar size to Whitehorse is Okotoks, Alta., where councillors receive $38,213, or 49 per cent, of the mayor’s $77,661 salary.

Current councils set the pay rate for the next council a year before an election. It then comes into effect after the new council is sworn into office.

With the next municipal election set for Oct. 18, council had looked at the remuneration rate last October.

It put off a decision, as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities was working to call on the federal government to reverse the decision on the taxes.

It had set a date of Feb. 28 to make a decision if there had been no progress on the matter.

As it was highlighted in the report to council: “To compensate, remuneration rates for the incoming mayor and council must be adjusted upward to keep their take-home incomes consistent with those of the present mayor and council.”

It then goes on to highlight the suggested change in pay based on the upcoming CRA rules before also pointing to the comparison with other cities in western Canada to bring it up to 36 per cent of the mayor’s salary.

Remuneration would also rise again in 2020 and 2021, according to the Consumer Price Adjustment.

Mayor Dan Curtis voiced his support for the changes.

He pointed out that the list showing the details of other municipalities provides, for perhaps the first time, a clear picture of how the city compares with other communities.

He praised councillors, noting that their work includes attending many more meetings than just those on Monday nights.

It also involves attending weekend and evening events, and a long list of other work. It all amounts to much more than 36 per cent of the full-time work of the mayor, Curtis said.

“I think 36 per cent is quite low,” he said.

The changes would be for the next council, he stressed, and thus not impact the current council.

Council will vote on whether to move forward with the changes to the remuneration bylaw next week.

Comments (19)

Up 0 Down 0

jack on Feb 12, 2018 at 10:29 pm

This council is taking away from working families and enriching themselves.

Its hard enough to make end meet without the council raising taxes each year (unless, of course, you work for the City).

Up 0 Down 0

Mandeep on Feb 12, 2018 at 4:06 pm

Mayor Curtis mentions that the councillors attend more meetings than just the monday night council meetings. They were aware of the extra committe work when they ran for office. Dan also makes no mention of absentee councillors as one is absent just about as much as he attends.
Bill your a nice guy but, that's not what we need right now. We need a fiscally responsible person who will judiciously cut out any fat from City want lists in recognition of an over-taxed public.

Up 3 Down 0

ProScience Greenie on Feb 12, 2018 at 12:22 pm

The cost of the basics are rising BnR but for many wages are not. The gig economy grows and is hard to adapt to. Mayor, council and senior city staff tend to err on the side of spending like drunken sailors rather than living within their means. They are also poor listeners to the people they are suppose to represent. There are lots of unethical business shenanigans happening all the time shamelessly endorsed by gov/senior bureaucrats. That stuff tends to tick people off hence some of the legitimate outrage expressed.

Up 2 Down 0

Doug Martens on Feb 12, 2018 at 6:29 am

How does voting yourself a raise pass the conflict of interest guidelines? Asking for a friend. Lol.

Up 0 Down 3

BnR on Feb 11, 2018 at 10:47 am

The usual outrage.
Ok then, I'm reading that the councillors aren't hard working and don't deserve a pay increase, and many of you don't think they deserve anything.
So, whats the alternative? Do away with city council? Have volunteer councillors? I don't see anyone here even showing up at any of the council meetings to offer any input, constructive or otherwise, and I can't see any of the usual suspects volunteering for council, or anything else for that matter.
And then theres Nikita going on about "regular people...living pay cheque to pay cheque". Besides the fact that this has nothing to do with the article, if you are living pay cheque to pay cheque and "barely keeping your (their) heads above water", I would suggest that you have made some very poor choices in your life. Whether you decided that having as many kids as you could made more sense than getting some sort of useful education, or buying new trucks/cars/toys etc on credit really does make sense, well, thats on YOU.

Up 3 Down 0

Max Mack on Feb 10, 2018 at 11:42 am

Great news! I just found out MY employer is going to give me a 20% raise to counter all the tax/fee/fine increases brought in by CoW over these many years.

Get it, Mayor Curtis?

Up 0 Down 0

Alan Boomer on Feb 9, 2018 at 3:56 pm

I support these raises but expect a lot more from mayor and council.

At this time I would vote for only 2 from the current mayor and council pool.

Up 7 Down 0

Charles on Feb 8, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Every two years the City raises taxes claiming it's for improving Infrastructure such as City Streets or Sidewalks or such. And every time the City Lords vote to give themselves a raise. Can anybody see a pattern here?
I do. Why do they vote anyway? As if anyone of the Lords would vote against it. What a crock of BS is that? If the City can not afford it otherwise, then they don't deserve it. Maybe other Cities such as Okotoks can afford it, so they should not compare other Communities with Whitehorse. Just because Jim gets it does not mean Joe deserves it too.
It seems to me that we minions to the lords have to make up for their inability to perform. Increase in pay should be earned, it's not a given. In this case they should actually get a reduction in pay over the last few Years.
It truly seems that we minions have to pay our Lordship regardless.

Up 11 Down 0

north_of_60 on Feb 7, 2018 at 4:49 pm

I will remember which councilors vote themselves an unjustified pay raise, because they will not get my vote in the upcoming election.

Up 11 Down 0

Josey Wales on Feb 7, 2018 at 1:39 pm

Gee imagine my shock?
Striving to redefine greed and arrogance...
Funny thing, they will get away with their entitlement...SOP in these parts.
The gap between the haves and nots here is grand canyon like.
As long as we tolerate arrogant blowholes with no ACTUAL resistance, we will develop a larger callus on our civic sphincter so frequently violated by said nobles.
Really is tough being a wolf amongst so, so many sheep.
In my opinion, that is BBaaa Baaaaaaaad.
....till the next civic fleecing...

Up 11 Down 0

Garrioch's Reliable Source on Feb 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm

"just as long as I get mine"
It would be a hoot if the mayor and every councilor lost in the next election
I'll be voting for any fiscally conservative candidate that steps forward

Up 11 Down 0

ProScience Greenie on Feb 7, 2018 at 9:27 am

Anyone else out there getting 20, 30, 40% raises in pay to match increasing costs of housing, food, transportation, raising kids and of course, increased municipal, territorial and federal taxes?
CoW citizens, your mayor, council and senior city administrators are not working for you. Time to vote them out and vote in recall legislation to be able to hold their feet to the fire for once.

Up 11 Down 0

jack on Feb 7, 2018 at 1:37 am

NO! enough is enough. Over 50% of tax base is now being blown on salaries and not on services.
These charlatans are busy lining their own pockets from tax payer rates.

Outrageous and unacceptable.

Up 11 Down 0

My Opinion on Feb 6, 2018 at 11:12 pm

Are you kidding me??? How do I get a raise to deal with all the increases you have foisted on me? You guys are so out of touch it is outrageous. We need recall and we need it now. We also need a tax and spending freeze. When we are out of money we quit spending. Just like a business does. Simple you Bozo's.

Up 13 Down 0

gb on Feb 6, 2018 at 11:04 pm

As a senior I object to such a huge raise. Canada Pension Plan doesn't raise my money like this. My street is plowed worse than it has been in the last 5 years (that's if they plow it at all). My driveway is plowed in more than I care to think about over the last 2 winters. Exactly what is City Council doing to earn it's money besides taking more money from me when I can least afford it?

Up 11 Down 0

Juniper Jackson on Feb 6, 2018 at 8:44 pm

Whenever City and Territorial governments want to do something that might be considered unreasonable, they instantly say.. this is what other communities are doing, so of course we have to do the same thing.. property owners.. captive taxpayers.. you're gonna' do it or sell out.. too bad so many people are doing just that.. so, we should all kiss dirt and be grateful that the community they are wanting to duplicate isn't Toronto.. $101,000 a year for a Mayor..plus perks, Un f***ing believable.

" Meanwhile, remuneration for Councillors would climb by nearly $4,000 – from $20,496 to $24,315 – if it’s based only on the tax changes to ensure take-home pay remains the same. (yeah.. they shouldn't have to pay taxes on income like the rest of us..hey.. you just sit back, because I really want to work 46 hours a week so you don't have to pay income taxes)

However, the report brought forward by Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, is putting forward another option that would bring the pay up to $36,036.
As Constable explained, a $15,540 increase for councilors would bring Whitehorse closer to other communities in western Canada.

Personally..I think excessive greed is.. repulsive.

Up 9 Down 0

Nikita Koloff on Feb 6, 2018 at 8:26 pm

It makes me sick. Regular people go to work every day, put up with their bosses and people and live pay cheque to pay cheque, barely keeping their heads above water.

Up 5 Down 4

BnR on Feb 6, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Ok, I accept the councillors pay increase. You want to be able to attract good candidates.
That being said, with this increase, barring sickness, you had better attended all the meetings.

Up 9 Down 0

Hugh Mungus on Feb 6, 2018 at 2:58 pm

What a crock of s#i7

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