Councillor Jeff Virtanen and Mayor Aaron Stone at the February 18 Regular Council Meeting (Cole Schisler photo)

Town Council approves recommended remunerations increase

A Select Committee on Council Remunerations was formed to determine an increase to remunerations

Town Council approved recommendations from the Select Committee on Council Remunerations that will give mayor and council slight wage increases until 2022.

For 2020, the mayor will receive $37,676 and councillors will receive $15,552. In 2021, the mayor will receive $40,294, and councillors will receive $15,860. By 2022, the mayor will receive $42,912, and councillors will receive $16,166. For the next three years after 2022, remuneration amounts will be determined by the Victoria Consumer Price Index average, to a maximum increase of two-percent. If the index results in a decrease, there will be no change to the remuneration amount.

Mike Hooper, chair of the Select Committee on Council Remunerations Committee, presented the recommendations to council at the regular council meeting on February 18. Hooper said that the committee looked at remunerations of mayors and councils in 11 comparable B.C. municipalities, and found Ladysmith’s mayor and council were remunerated below the provincial average.

“We understand that the mayor and council are working on a number of projects, and are making less than we would suggest – less than minimum wage – based on the number of hours that goes into municipal governance,” Hooper said.

Hooper said that the average pay for mayors across B.C. is $60,000, and over $34,000 for councillors. In order to address the gap and minimize public pushback, the committee recommended increasing remunerations in small steps.

The committee also looked at the possibility of benefits and electronics for mayor and council. The committee recommended that mayor and council look at benefits under the Union of BC Municipalities, (UBCM) in 2022. They also recommended that mayor and council get a free membership to Frank Jameson Community Centre.

UBCM released a best practices guide on council remunerations in 2019. The guide recommends that an independent task force comprised largely of local residents make recommendations on remunerations. This ensures an independent process and protects elected officials and their staff from conflict of interest issues.

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