In 2020 Williams Lake Mayor and Council will be getting about a 12 per cent raise because of a federal tax rule change and to align their salaries with the Consumer Price Index.
Council’s remuneration is presently about 30 per cent lower than most other municipalities, according to a report prepared for the City, said CAO Milo MacDonald, adding a rate increase for mayor and council has been frozen for more than a decade.
During the regular council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 17, Mayor Walt Cobb said if the federal government had not eliminated the deduction for elected officials council would probably not have even considered a raise at this time.
“It’s definitely one of the hardest things to do — give yourself a raise,” Cobb said. “If you are in business for yourself you take whatever happens to be left. I think this would have been tabled at this particular time if the federal government hadn’t made this decision a year ago to start clawing back.”
Council received a staff report recommending a greater increase, but council decided unanimously it was not the time to go with a big increase because many in the community are experiencing hardships.
Presently councillors receive $15,000 annually and the mayor gets $43,000.
The percentage that gets taken off for taxes will be different for everyone, depending on how much money they are making from other jobs or businesses, said Coun. Craig Smith.
An exact amount for the raise will still have to be determined after legal consultation, the City’s chief financial officer said.
“A study by the Canadian Federation of Municipalities indicated the average impact of the new rules is an average around 12 per cent one-time increase per councillor,” Vitali Kozubenko said. “Then each year there is the policy, which they’ve been waiving all along, of increasing it by the rate of inflation, which they will begin to do now.”