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Local politicians’ pay to increase

  - Record file photo
— image credit: Record file photo

The next council elected will be paid more than the politicians currently serving the District of Mission.

At the April 22 meeting, councillors approved bumping up the mayor’s salary to $70,178 (increase of five per cent), and a councillor’s salary to $28,071 (increase of 17 per cent), while eliminating an elected official’s car allowance.

Mission’s mayor currently receives $64,384 in annual compensation and a car allowance of $2,400. A councillor is paid $22,280 and a car allowance of $1,200.

“This is always a difficult thing for councils to do,” said Coun. Jenny Stevens. “That’s why we’re making recommendations for the next council coming in. In the past, previous councils have dodged the bullet.”

Council has not increased salaries in five years and if it doesn’t take action, it will fall behind too far in compensation and it will be difficult to catch up, she added.

Coun. Jeff Jewell said the current council has been underpaid compared to other similar-sized communities.

“This council has fully demonstrated its financial responsibility,” said Jewell, who notes he was surprised there weren’t more negative comments on the issue from the public.

Couns. Tony Luck and Nelson Tilbury were also in favour of the change.

Citizens were encouraged to comment on the issue over the past two months and all feedback received by the district was forwarded to council. Three citizens who wrote in by email supported the pay raises, while six were opposed.

Mayor Ted Adlem and Coun. Larry Nundal believe elected officials are paid adequately and did not support the increases. Coun. Dave Hensman was absent from the meeting.

“I believe for the size of the community, what the mayor gets paid is fair,” said Adlem. “I don’t dispute if council’s salary is over or under. I believe a good portion of what you do on council is a donation to the community.”

Mission’s population is estimated to be 36,426. In Campbell River, which has a population of 31,186, the mayor’s salary was $61,328 in 2013, while a councillor’s salary was $23,423.

In Port Moody, which has an estimated population of 32,975, the mayor earned $72,914 last year, while a councillor took home $25,520. Vernon’s mayor and council were paid $68,124 and $24,423 respectively. Vernon’s population is estimated at 38,150.

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