Council stirs salary debate

When the next mayor and city council are elected this fall, they may find themselves making a bit more money. Council is currently considering raising the salaries of the city's elected representatives.

When the next mayor and city council are elected this fall, they may find themselves making a bit more money.

Council is currently considering raising the salaries of the city’s elected representatives.

If it passes, the mayor’s pay will increase to $84,100 from $74,000 – although the new rate includes a vehicle allowance that is currently counted separately.

Councillors’ salaries would rise to $19,600 from $18,000. The per diems for attending meetings when representing the city or serving as acting mayor would also rise to $150 for a meeting of four hours or longer and $100 for sessions that last between one and four hours.

The pay raises reflect changes to the consumer price index, following a bylaw passed in 2009.

However, Coun. Ranj Pillai would like to see decisions about pay taken out of the hands of city council entirely.

“I’d like to see the people make the decision,” he said.

His suggestion was to form an arm’s-length committee to make decisions on renumeration.

Coun. Dave Stockdale expressed doubt about whether that would work, pointing out that the last time it was tried, the committee came back with a suggestion to raise the pay to $25,000 from $13,000.

Council ultimately decided on $18,000.

But that just demonstrates the need to take the politics out of the decision, said Pillai.

No matter what happens, the public is unlikely to be happy with the outcome, said Coun. Dave Austin.

“You’re dammed if you do, or dammed if you don’t,” he said.