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Council proceeds with pay raise

While no one on city council has argued a remuneration increase isn’t overdue, there is disagreement over the amount and when it takes effect.

On Monday, council gave three readings to a bylaw which, as of Jan 1, 2015, will increase the councillors’ remuneration from $15,000 to $21,660, (a 44.4 per cent increase), and the mayor’s pay from $44,800 to $53,725 (19 per cent). This process stems from a survey of remuneration levels in other, similarly sized B.C. municipalities. The survey’s author, Maurice Lamb of Lamb and Associates, found remuneration rates for Salmon Arm’s mayor and council – which haven’t been increased since 2003 – to be below the survey average. Council supported the increases, as well as a recommendation to adjust remuneration annually based on the B.C. Consumer Price Index, noting it would benefit the next council.

Coun. Marg Kentel, however, opposed the increase for council happening all at once, suggesting it be spread out over the four-year term. She reiterated this at Monday’s council meeting when expressing opposition to the three readings.

This time around, Kentel’s wasn’t the lone voice of dissent. Coun. Ken Jamieson agreed, arguing the increase is warranted but should be spread out.

“My views are very similar to Coun. Kentel’s,” said Jamieson. “I’m not against an increase for council. I have the luxury of looking back to 1987/88 when I was first on council… and we worked for… almost nothing and the job was pretty light.

“If I were to compare the two jobs now, 25 years apart… The amount of work that councillors do and the mayor… there’s no comparison. The amount of work is incredible sometimes.”

Coun. Denise Reimer who, like Kentel, is not running for re-election in November, supported the bylaw that kicks in Jan. 1, arguing remuneration levels should have been adjusted over the past decade. She also expressed the hope the increase might attract a greater diversity of people to run for council.

Coun. Alan Harrison wasn’t opposed to Kentel’s idea, but argued how making a decision now takes that pressure off the next council.

“I think we want to take that piece away, so that it gets done. We’re up to par and we now have a plan on how to keep the remuneration fair with the average,” said Harrison.

 

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