August 23, 2017

Next town council will get higher pay

Even with pay hike Blackfalds council pay in lower range compared to other municipalities

Even with pay hike Blackfalds council pay in lower range compared to other municipalities
By Lisa Joy
Blackfalds LIFE

Future Blackfalds mayor and town councilors will get compensated more financially than the current council after council approved a review that recommended long-overdue pay increases.
The Standing Committee of Council and the Council Remuneration Review Committee report to council,
Blackfalds Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Myron Thompson told council during its regular meeting March 28 that, Blackfalds council is paid less than the majority of councils in the province.
The standing committee, which is made up of five citizens, an HR Consultant and the Town of Blackfalds CAO, recognizes “the sustained high growth and progressive nature of Blackfalds and the increased expectations and requirements brought upon the elected officials, said CAO Thompson.
“It was also recognized by the committee that the compensation levels paid to mayor and council were very low in comparison to those municipalities included in the survey.”
The mayor will be paid a per capita rate of $3.84 and councilors will receive $2.10. This per capita rate will be the base honorarium for the mayor and councilors. The mayor will get a $13,350 increase for a total of about $49,326 annually and the councilors will get a $8,767 increase for a total of about $27,743.
Even with the increase in remuneration, this only brings the mayor’s position to thirty-eighty percentile among the comparator communities and forty-sixth percentile for the councillors’ positions. Blackfalds was compared to 14 other communities including Drumheller, Edson, High River, Hinton, Innisfail, Lacombe, Morinville, Olds, Strathmore, Sylvan Lake, Taber, Wetaskiwin and Whitecourt.
In addition, council and mayor will have the option of receiving benefits. Municipalities provide benefits to their elected officials but Blackfalds currently doesn’t.
Coun. Richard Poole brought forward a motion to have the increases phased in over four citing “these economic times” as a reason.
Mayor Melodie Stol, however, said she wasn’t in favour of phasing the increases because in 2019 councillors won’t have a tax exempt status.
“In 2019 councillors will perhaps make less than they make today.”
Coun. Dean Wigmore didn’t support Coun. Poole’s amendment motion either. He said no one ran against him and he has been in by acclamation twice.
“I’ve never had an election and I’m a two-term councilor. I’ve never been elected and I don’t think it’s right. Part of the problem has to do with valuing peoples’ time and what motivates someone to come and run for this position and I think that is money.”
Coun. Poole’s amended motion was defeated. Council voted in favour of the increase.
The increased remuneration for mayor and council doesn’t come into effect until after the October 2017 election.
Packages for potential council candidates will be ready by May or June, said Mayor Stol.

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The Blackfalds LIFE covers Blackfalds and area and is published every Thursday and distributed free to homes in Blackfalds through Canada Post and is available free on the newsstand in Blackfalds, Lacombe and Red Deer reaching about 59,000 readers weekly in print and online. Our office is located at 5001 Broadway Ave. Blackfalds (beside post office). For advertising rates email lisa.joy@blackfaldslife.com

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