Coldstream boosts politician’s pay

Increase will come in effect for the new mayor and council to offest federal claw-back

Coldstream politicians are giving their successors a raise.

The increase is being implemented to make up for federal legislation, effective Jan. 1, 2019 which makes political pay taxable.

See related: Kelowna council gives itself a raise to offset federal claw-back

“We’ve always had a third of our stipends tax-free and now the government is removing that,” said Coun. Peter McClean.

“Council has adjusted the rates to incorporate the increase.”

Mayor’s remuneration rises to $34,000 (from approximately $28-29,000) and councillor remuneration to $15,000 (from approximately $12,000).

“They’re really not making any more, for the time commitment and disruption, it’s not very much money to pay councillors $1,000 a month,” said McClean.

“I still think it should be more.”

A previous staff recommendation was to increased the mayor’s pay to $31,200 and council pay to $13,740, but those numbers were boosted by council.

“It’s a difficult call on it as you don’t know how much each person is making,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, as remuneration includes meeting stipends and varies for each politician based on how many extra meetings they attend (such as the Regional District of North Okanagan and Okanagan Library Board).

“We had a previous adjustment that was about 10 years ago and since then we haven’t done anything, we’ve just increased by CPI,” said Garlick.

The approximate increase to the 2019 budget will be $23,000, taking into consideration the increase in gross remuneration and additional employer share of benefit costs (CPP).

The numbers do not vary much from what the politicians actually earn.

See related: Coldstream mayor and CAO top spenders

Mayor Jim Garlick’s remuneration last year was $32,502 plus $1,844 in expenses.

Coun. Gyula Kiss was paid $16,815 in remuneration and $2,081 in expenses.

Coun. Glen Taylor collected $17,571, which included $4,311 in expenses.

Coun. Richard Enns had $14,084, including expenses totalling $2,141.

There were no expenses claimed by councillors Peter McClean, Doug Dirk and Pat Cochrane, who respectively earned $12,865, $11,943 and $12,206.

For staff, the top paid employee was Chief Administrative Officer Trevor Seibel at $145,335, followed by Director of Infrastructure Services Michael Baker at $120,578, Director of Financial Administration Patricia Higgens ($115,007), Michael Reiley (director of development services) with $111,543 and Keri-Ann Austin (director of corporate administration) earning $106,147.

Other employees earning more than $75,000 per year include Dave Acton, Gord McKay, Matt Treit, Bob Bibby, Neil Blundell, Brent Comeau, James Scherck, Jan Ullrich, Irman Breatikreutz and Terry Segert.


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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