The mayor of Campbell River will be paid 14 per cent more next year than this year, and since councilor pay is based on a percentage of the mayor’s, they get a raise, as well. Mirror File Photo

Next Campbell River mayor and council will be paid more than this one

Remuneration adjustment is mostly due to the fact their pay will now be fully taxed by the feds

The mayor of Campbell River – whoever that ends up being – will be receiving a pay bump as of January of next year.

At this week’s meeting of city council, the city heard from Doug Lang, chair of the city’s independent Council Remuneration Task Force, recommending what the next sitting council will be paid.

Lang outlined how the task force went about its work, which started with comparing Campbell River’s mayor and council’s financial compensation with those of other similar-sized communities around the province.

It all starts with what the mayor makes, Lang says, because councilor remuneration is generally calculated using a fixed percentage of that amount. Campbell River councilors are currently paid 37 per cent of what the mayor makes, for example.

“We noticed as we went through and reviewed the mayor’s remuneration that we were really out of step with where we thought we should be by about $1,000 a year,” Lang says. “So that became part of the recommendation.”

The thing that makes the increase jump look so significant, however, is that mayor and councilors’ pay used to be one-third non-taxable. But that is going away as of January, meaning remuneration will now be fully taxed by the federal government, so governments around the province are increasing the pay for their mayors and councilors to reflect that fact.

“The large disproportion of communities are actually looking at that and realigning the compensation to account for the loss of the one-third non-taxable allowance,” Lang says. “That added to the mayor’s salary, I believe, about $7,000.”

After all the calculations were done, including an annual adjustment using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the mayor’s remuneration was proposed by the task force to increase from $64,452 to $73,611 – an increase of $9,159 or just over 14 per cent – though the majority of that will be taxed and collected by the federal government. The task force also recommended that councilor remuneration increase from 37 to 38 per cent of the mayor’s pay, aligning with the standard in the comparable communities. Part of the reasoning behind that move is that councilors will no longer get a pay increase when serving as acting mayor, which they each do for two months per year. Instead, that additional workload is now rolled into the pay formula.

Councilors will also now be able to have their health benefits paid for by the city, as well. Until now, only the mayor had the option to have his benefits package paid by the city, but because councilors, who also sit on the board of the Strathcona Regional District, could get benefits paid for by the SRD, it wasn’t fair to those who did not.

“We looked at this as a fairness principle and said, if you get assigned to the SRD, you can get benefits, but if you were left behind and were just a councilor, you could get benefits, but you had to pay 100 per cent for them,” Land said. “So we’re suggesting that it aligns for every councilor to be able to receive benefits.”

Council accepted the task force recommendations, to be implemented on the first pay period of 2019.