Antigo­nish town, county coun­cils ap­prove pay raises

In­creases aimed at off­set­ting changes to fed­eral in­come tax reg­u­la­tions

The Casket - - Local - COREY LEBLANC coreyle­[email protected]­cas­ket.ca

Coun­cil­lors in Antigo­nish town and county, like many of their coun­ter­parts across the prov­ince, will re­ceive a pay in­crease in 2019.

Both the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the County of Antigo­nish and Town of Antigo­nish re­cently ap­proved raises for elected mem­bers.

Those de­ci­sions came in re­sponse to an up­com­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tion to fed­eral in­come tax reg­u­la­tions, tak­ing ef­fect Jan. 1, which will mean a de­crease in a mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lor’s take-home pay.

With the re­moval of the tax ex­emp­tion, they will no longer re­ceive one-third of their stipends tax-free, which was meant to off­set travel costs.

“We asked staff to go back and take a look. So coun­cil, along with many other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across the prov­ince, (are) go­ing to make it so that the net dif­fer­ence to a coun­cil­lor doesn’t change,” War­den Owen Mc­car­ron told re­porters after coun­cil’s Dec. 19 meet­ing.

“It will re­flect a small in­crease to off­set the tax piece.”

Like their coun­ter­parts in Antigo­nish County, town of­fi­cials will im­ple­ment the pay in­creases to co­in­cide with the Jan. 1 change to the fed­eral reg­u­la­tions.

“We will in­crease it enough so that it will make up for the loss in the taxes,” Mayor Lau­rie Boucher said after the town’s monthly pub­lic ses­sion Dec. 17.

“It will not be an in­crease to our take-home stipend, but it will be equal to what we’re tak­ing home now.”

Since fed­eral of­fi­cials an­nounced the planned change, the Fed­er­a­tion of Nova Sco­tia Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties has en­cour­aged its mem­bers to ad­just their stipends to off­set the loss.

As for other coun­cils in the Strait re­gion, the Town of Port Hawkes­bury has de­ferred the coun­cil re­mu­ner­a­tion is­sue to its bud­get de­lib­er­a­tions, while the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the County of In­ver­ness has ap­proved an ad­just­ment that will take af­fect with the fed­eral tax changes.

Like Port Hawkes­bury, coun­cil with the Dis­trict of St. Mary’s will dis­cuss the is­sue dur­ing their up­com­ing bud­get talks.

The Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of the Dis­trict of Guys­bor­ough has de­cided to make no changes to stipends for coun­cil­lors.

“I think the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is go­ing to win on this one – there is go­ing to be more taxes go­ing in to them,” Mc­car­ron said.

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