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Paying the politicians

What are suitable salaries for Mission's mayor and councillors?

It has been five years since the politicians have had a boost in pay and the district is now going to the public for input.

A staff report prepared for council last week suggested increasing the mayor's annual salary from $64,384 to $70,178, and councillors' salaries from $22,280 to $26,705. The mayor also receives an annual car allowance of $2,400, while councillors receive $1,200.

Coun. Tony Luck also suggested including an extra $600 per session when a councillor serves as deputy mayor.

Elected officials have a combined expense account totalling $30,157, separated into travel ($10,000), conferences ($16,947), and miscellaneous ($3,210) such as cell phones and the mayor's health plan.

Prior to making the recommendation, district staff compared the salaries of mayor and council from other similar-sized communities. Mission's population is estimated to be 36,426. In Campbell River where there is a population of 31,186, the mayor's salary for 2013 was $61,328, and a councillor's salary was $23,423.

In Port Moody (population 32,975), the mayor earned $72,914, while a councillor earned $25,520. Vernon's (population 38,150) mayor and council were paid $68,124, and $24,858 respectively.

Mission staff is also recommending the salaries be reviewed and compared to other municipalities every year prior to an election and the Vancouver Consumer Price Index be used to establish salary levels in years without an election.

Chief administrative officer Ken Bjorgaard stressed whatever is decided for Mission will apply to the next council elected in November and is subject to ratification by the new council.

This is the first time Mission is seeking public input on council remuneration, said Bjorgaard. "We're committed to seeking feedback on key issues."

Anyone interested in commenting on the issue can send an e-mail to info@mission.ca. Any comments made on social media will also be forwarded to council for review.

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