Coun­cil ap­proves pay in­crease

The Drumheller Mail - - News - Kyle Smylie

Drumheller town coun­cil have given them­selves a raise to com­pen­sate for fed­eral tax changes this year which saw their take home pay re­duced.

Coun­cil ap­proved an up­dated re­mu­ner­a­tion and ex­pense al­lowance pol­icy which will see their an­nual salary in­crease by $2,000 for the mayor and about $1,000 for coun­cil­lors. The rec­om­mended changes came from an in­de­pen­dent com­mit­tee ap­pointed by coun­cil last sum­mer, headed by chair Denise Lines, who pre­sented the com­mit­tee’s re­port late last year ahead of the tax changes which oc­curred Jan­uary 1, 2019. The changes from Bill-C44 elim­i­nated a tax break on one third of Cana­dian elected of­fi­cials’ pay, pre­vi­ously al­lo­cated for tax-free gen­eral ex­penses.

“We’ve been keep­ing an eye on what mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across the coun­try have been do­ing to ad­dress this is­sue and coun­cil has re­viewed the draft pol­icy on a cou­ple oc­ca­sions as we’ve gone back and forth amend­ing it,” said cor­po­rate ser­vices di­rec­tor Barb Miller at the Septem­ber 16 meet­ing.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion com­pleted their eval­u­a­tion of the re­port this sum­mer and made the rec­om­men­da­tion to adopt the pol­icy as it was pre­sented

Miller said the ben­e­fits of the pol­icy “en­sures fair and equitable re­mu­ner­a­tion” and will help at­tract qual­i­fied can­di­dates in fu­ture elec­tions. Miller said coun­cil­lors of­ten miss work or take time to meet with con­stituents and the re­mu­ner­a­tion re­flects the im­por­tance of coun­cil’s po­si­tion.

“I think it’s fair when we ask for a com­mit­tee of peo­ple from the com­mu­nity to eval­u­ate what re­mu­ner­a­tion should be given to coun­cil­lors -- I think that’s about as fair a process as you can get,“said coun­cil­lor Tom Zariski.

The rec­om­men­da­tions also in­cluded a two-day re­duc­tion in the num­ber of per diem days mayor and coun­cil could claim an­nu­ally, down to 7 per coun­cil­lor and 10 for the mayor.

Pre­vi­ously, coun­cil­lor pay cost the town $20,930.25 an­nu­ally and $39,947.70 for the mayor. The new rate has now in­creased to $21,976.76 for coun­cil­lors and $41,945.09 for the mayor.

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