The proposed pay increase for next year’s newly elected mayor and council of Mission was approved on Monday.
The increase – which does not take effect until January 2019 after the next municipal election – will see the mayor’s remuneration rise from $73,906 per year to $84,394, while councillors will receive 50 per cent of the mayor’s pay, up from the current rate of 40 per cent.
That means councillors will receive approximately $42,197 per year compared to $29,560 that they now get.
The increase was proposed to help offset the impact of changes to the Income Tax Act.
Currently, one-third of the mayor’s and councillors’ salary is non-taxable. This tax exemption also applies to provincial income tax. This non-taxable portion is considered as an allowance for expenses.
That exemption has been eliminated, leaving mayor and councillors with no compensation for expenses.
Municipal elected officials receive no mileage, cellphone or car allowances for their day-to-day duties.
Council’s decision to approve the increase was not unanimous. Coun. Jim Hinds voted against the proposal.
Hinds asked council to consider changing councillors’ pay from 50 per cent of the mayor’s remuneration to 45 per cent.
Coun. Rhett Nicholson said while he is not going to run for council again, he still believes the increase is needed.
“The average person really doesn’t understand what we do,” he said adding that, expenses or not, “$42,000 is not a lot of money.
“It’s a lot of work. Don’t sell yourself short,” he told the rest of council.
Hinds agreed that councillors work hard and don’t always get the credit for the work they do.
“I just have a big problem taking a huge jump like that, that’s all,” Hinds said.
Coun Pam Alexis said she supports the increase, in the hopes it may attract younger people to run in the next election.