Whitehorse council pay bylaw on hold

‘In general, I have no issue with these changes’

Whitehorse city council voted to turn a proposed bylaw that would have increased the salaries of future mayors and councillors back to staff for further review at the Sept. 11 regular council meeting.

The issue was first brought to council’s attention at the Sept. 5 standing committee meeting. Previously, municipal politicians were allowed to deduct up to one-third of their salaries from their taxes, as that portion was considered to be related to expenses associated with being a member of council. The federal Liberals eliminated that perk in this year’s budget. A new policy which makes the full amount taxable will take effect in 2019.

The bylaw would have increased the salaries of the future staff and council by the amount their net income would be reduced when the new tax policy takes effect in 2019, a move Mayor Dan Curtis had previously stressed was not an increase in pay but a “remediation.”

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is going to be reviewing the policy, Fendrick said. Fendrick said it would be better to wait and see what happened with the FCM’s review. The rest of the council agreed.

“In general, I have no issue with these changes,” said Coun. Rob Fendrick.

“It is the future council (this would affect) — it has nothing to do with this council. I think we are dealing with this appropriately I think it prudent to wait.”

“I wish the FCM hadn’t waited this long (to address the issue). They knew about the changes months ago,” he said.

Councillor Samson Hartland and Mayor Dan Curtis were absent from the meeting.

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com