Councillors to get a big raise in 2019

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KAWARTHA LAKES-Councillors in the City of Kawartha Lakes will be getting a raise amounting to almost $10,000 a year starting in 2019.

Council voted to pass a motion on the raise today in Lindsay. The motion sparked heated debate among some councillors. Councillor Dunn took issue with any type of raise, basically calling the move a money grab. “We’re not concerned about getting better candidates, we’re concerned about putting more cash in our pockets so at least admit that when you make your decision,” he said “It’s all about us and how much money we can squeeze out of this thing.” Dunn remarked.

Councillor Martin stood up quickly and said she was insulted by the remark. “I take insult to what you just said, about us sitting around here and trying to put money in our pockets, I find that very insulting.”

Councillor Yeo said he wasn’t insulted by the remark and was proud to say he enjoyed being a member of council but felt they should be properly compensated. “I found it spoken by a man who is on a fixed pension and can afford to do this for what they pay, Im not afraid to stand up and say “yes” if I’m going to do this job next term, given the new responsibilities then Im going to need more money, because I’m going to be giving up my business because it will take that to do this job.”

More responsibilities would include an increase in the number of constituents to answer to, more committees, openings and announcements as well as alarger territory to cover.

Mayor Letham thought it was up to each individual councillor how much time they spend on the job. ” I dont believe it was ever set up to be a full time job, some choose to put more time into it and that’s a decision you make either when you decide to run or once you get elected.” he said.

Any increase at all was opposed by Councillor Breadner while Elmslie supported the move. “I believe what we’ve come through is a good thing, reducing the number of wards and reducing the number of councillors but I think if we are going to compensate people to run for this job that we need to do a little more than the bare minimum.” Elmslie said. “I dont think the current status (status quo)what is being proposed is sufficient.” I think the job is going to become a full time job with much larger wards to look after.” In March the city approved a restructuring reducing the number of councillors from 16 to eight following the 2018 municipal election.

Three options for future remuneration were presented to council. Option one would have basically maintianed the status quo. Council currently has a base salary of $26,632 and a $3600 a year for car allowance but this would roll the car allowance into the base salary.

Option two proposed a $5000 increase in the base salary for councillors and rolling in the car allowance. That would mean councillors would be paid $35,995 including car allowance equivalency.

Council voted against both of those options but the third time was a charm with Option three recieving the go ahead.

Option three includes an increase of $10,000 bringing total remuneration to $41,065 per year. The Mayor’s salary will go from $73,728 plus $7200 for car allowance in 2017 to $82,809 not including vehicle in 2019.

The new pay structure would still be cheaper than the current arrangment with 16 councillors. The net savings in 2019 over the 2018 level of the overall Mayor and Councillor’s Salary and Benefits for this option is $109,203. The decrease to cost per resident is $1.48/resident.

Councillor Elmslie said more money was needed to attract the best candidates. “I think we need to start tying to attract younger more dynamic people.”

Yeo agreed,” In order to get someone to do the job and do the job properly you are going to have to compensate them for it.” he said.

Council also voted to appoint a Deputy Mayor starting in 2019 on a one year contract basis with an additional $2500 year remuneration.