Esquimalt’s next mayor will prosper from a 41 per cent pay hike, and councillors, a 25 per cent raise.
Council decided Monday to allow the future mayor to be paid $34,600, up $10,100. Councillor pay will climb to $13,885, by $2,842. The new wages come into effect Jan. 1, 2012, and will be adjusted according to Statistics Canada’s Consumer Price Index for Victoria in subsequent years.
A committee was struck last September to examine remuneration, but in the end council decided not to go with the recommended rates, which would have cost about $4,000 more.
While the wage increases won’t affect this year’s budget, councillors appeared torn between wanting to respect future budgetary needs, and wanting to bring salaries in line with other municipalities.
Council is considering a 3.9 per cent hike in its municipal taxes, which won’t be finalized until May 9. That doesn’t include tax rates determined by B.C. Transit, the school board, the Capital Regional District and utilities.
“I don’t believe it’s in the best interests of the next council to encumber them with that decision, nor do I think the current economic state of the budget can withstand that,” said Coun. Lynda Hundleby, who voted against the raise along with Coun. Bruce McIldoon.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins noted there has been no remuneration review in the municipality for at least a decade.
“There have been significant increases in time and significant increases in cost (to mayor and councillors),” she explained. “If we miss that opportunity, the next council will be in the same or worse situation in the next three years.”
Alternately, council rejected the idea of compensating future mayors and councillors for their child- or elder-care expenses when attending council-related appointments. Initially, the concept was considered as a means to encourage younger people to run for council.
Coun. Alison Gaul, the only councillor with young children, said she has always been against the idea because it might work against a potential candidate with young kids.
“I won’t be the person to let that hang over the next young woman’s head,” she said.
By the numbers
Mayor pay: $24,500
Councillor pay: $11,043
Population: 17,908 (2006 census)
Mayor pay: $27,422
Councillor pay: $11,637
Population: 15,745 (2006 census)
Mayor pay: $29,690
Councillor pay: $11,686