Categories: Home News

Remuneration rates for Saanich council could go up automatically in the future

Saanich councillors may be departing from their previous practice of publicly voting for changes to their own remuneration.

A staff report before council Monday recommends several changes to the remuneration and expense policy of Saanich council, including an amendment that would no longer require councillors to vote on future changes to their rates as a separate line item. They would continue to vote on remuneration rates through the budget process.

“An amendment to the policy to include automatic inclusion of the increase into the budget and not require a [council] motion has been provided for [council]’s consideration,” said Valla Tinney, Saanich’s finance director in the report.

While technically not required, councillors had previously voted on increases, she said earlier in the report.

During 2019 budget discussions, council set the remuneration for the office of mayor at $116,492.22 and the office of councillor $46,047.95. These figures represent increases of 13.22 and 11.47 per cent respectively. These increases in turn responded to changes in federal legislation effective Jan. 1 that require members of council to declare their entire remuneration as taxable.

The federal government previously exempted one-third of their remuneration on the assumption that elected officials incur expenses throughout their working year, to the tune of one-third of their pay. By way of background, council approved the increase unanimously. The public also heard at the time that net pay for each member of council would vary from person to person, with some potentially earning less.

RELATED: Saanich council votes for salary increase

RELATED: Saanich council set to raise remuneration rates but impact on net pay unknown

RELATED: Saanich mayor and council will usher in new year with a pay cut

Saanich determines the remuneration of the mayor and councillors on an annual basis, based on the average of the remuneration of council members of municipalities of comparable size. This group consists out of Kelowna, Kamloops, Abbotsford, North Vancouver, Delta, Langley (Township), and more locally, Victoria and Nanaimo.

The recommendation to automatically add future increases to the municipal budget without a vote comes after councillors had discussed the issue during 2019 budget talks.

“What I think is the awkward situation is the fact that it comes to us each year to vote on,” said Coun. Colin Plant back in March. “I think if we believe in this [council remuneration] policy, that we actually just make it so. This is what the increase will be, and we de-politicize it. Otherwise, it will come up every year as an item we vote on.”

He added later that the Capital Regional District automatically adds increases to the budget.

Mayor Fred Haynes said at the time that such a change could save council time, adding that council could always revisit the policy.

Chief administrative officer Paul Thorkelsson said in March that council’s remuneration policy was silent on the issue. “This has been the practise in Saanich, I suspect, historically through the desire to be transparent. [But] there is nothing in the policy that says it has to happen.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Wolf Depner

Share
Published by
Wolf Depner

Recent Posts

  • Home
  • Local News
  • News

PHOTOS: West Shore students rally for 10,000 Tonight food drive

Students, community members gather, sort food donations

3 hours ago
  • Home2
  • Sports

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

5 hours ago
  • News

B.C. makes regulatory change in battle against money laundering

Attorney General David Eby says the change addresses concerns raised by former RCMP officer Peter German

7 hours ago
  • Home
  • Local Business
  • News

Cannabis cultivation: Former North Saanich chicken farm goes into pot

North Saanich would join a small, growing number of communities with marijuana growing

7 hours ago
  • Business

Canada’s maple syrup production reaches record high while honey output drops

Statistics Canada says the maple syrup harvest rose by 34.8 per cent to a record 60 million litres

7 hours ago
  • Canada & World
  • News

Northern California man charged with aiding B.C. fugitive Brandon Teixeira

Sam Koh, 40, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to harbouring Teixeira

7 hours ago