Dickie defends spending

Lake Country’s 2013 financial information indicates that Coun. Owen Dickie had expenses of $7,327

A Lake Country politician is defending his use of taxpayers’ money.

The district’s 2013 financial information indicates that Coun. Owen Dickie had expenses of $7,327 — higher than any other council member.

“I attended three conferences,” said Dickie.

Among them was a Federation of Canadian Municipalities sustainability conference in Ontario.

“When we were spending a lot of money on a sustainability plan, it made sense to attend,” he said.

As a councillor, Dickie insists it’s important for him to become familiar with key issues and possible solutions.

“I hope to bring new ideas back (from conferences) and I believe I have done that. It’s an investment in good governance by councillors,” he said.

“Spending tax dollars doesn’t necessarily mean not spending money. The issue is one of getting value for money. The information I bring back helps guide the community.”

Mayor James Baker had expenses of $6,338 in 2013 while there was $4,669 for Coun. Lisa Cameron, $4,498 for Coun. Jamie McEwan, $1,906 for Coun. Rob Geier, $1,068 for Coun. Barb Leamont and $55 for Coun. Penny Gambell.

Baker had taxable remuneration of $26,601 and a non-taxable allowance of $13,300, while each councillor had taxable remuneration of $10,426 and a non-taxable allowance of $5,231.

“We haven’t heard from councillors that they should get more,” said Baker. “They are doing it for the community.”

There were 15 district employees who earned more than $75,000 in 2013.

Topping the list was chief administrative officer Alberto De Feo, with remuneration of $151,765 and expenses of $13,406. Stephen Banmen, chief financial officer, had a wage of $140,320 and expenses of $4,444.