North Glengarry council members will have some extra money in their pockets after giving themselves a raise when they approved the municipality’s 2015 budget.
For 2015, reflecting a cost of living increase of 2.4 per cent, the mayor will receive $27,706, deputy mayor $17,732, councillor-at-large $15,516, and the four ward councillors $14,408 each in annual remuneration for a total of $118,586. When expenses and benefits are included, council members will cost taxpayers $157,000 this year.
In 2014 council salaries were budgeted at $115,800 and came in just under that amount at $115,716. The total budget for representatives was $147,600 with an actual cost of $148,993.
Treasurer Johanna (Annie) Levac said the increase will help cover additional conference costs and members’ expenses, making up for last year’s reductions in these allocations. Mayor Chris McDonell concurred that last year members didn’t attend certain conferences in order to keep costs down. He attended only one convention, the Good Roads Association meeting in Toronto.
That expense was covered by Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry United Counties.
“It’s a good thing; it’s fair,” he said of the increase in remuneration, adding that expenses such as cellphones also impact costs. The new salary will be adjusted each year in accordance with the Consumer Price Index calculated by Statistics Canada.
For conferences held outside of Ottawa, the travel allowance is $250 for 2015, an increase from $200 last year; while the conference allowance is $170 per day, up from $150 in 2014. One-third of the remuneration is to cover council-related expenses.
Citizens who sit on committees will receive $60 for each meeting they attend, while sub-committee members will not receive any form of remuneration.
The mayor will receive an expense allowance up to $5,000; any expense over $1,000 must be pre-authorized through a council resolution. Like the counties, North Glengarry is making adjustments to mileage allowances to reflect fluctuating gas prices instead of paying a flat rate.
This will result in savings for taxpayers since instead of using a flat rate, which was 49 cents a kilometre, the municipality will rely on current prices. At the current price, the rate would be 43 cents per kilometre.