Saanich council votes for salary increase

Saanich council votes for salary increase

Councillors’ 11.47 per cent increase in response to changes in federal tax law

Councillors meeting as committee of the whole gave themselves a raise, but it is not clear whether they will actually have more money in their pockets.

Council voted unanimously to approve their own remuneration rates, as per policy. It states that council remuneration “shall be determined annually” by council during consideration of the financial plan, with rates based on those in other municipalities of comparable size.

RELATED: Saanich council set to raise remuneration rates but impact on net pay unknown

RELATED: Saanich mayor and council will usher in new year with a pay cut

Mayor Fred Haynes will see his remuneration rise to $116,4492.22 from $102,877.39, an increase of 13.22 per cent. Each of the eight councillors will see their respective remuneration rise to $46,047.95 from $41,309.50, an increase of 11.47 per cent.

Coun. Judy Brownoff said that the increase might leave the public with an unfavorable impression of council. “The media will say ‘how dare you raise your own salaries.’” But she added that the increase follows council policy and reflects changes to federal tax law.

“I get it — we are uncomfortable, but there is a policy,” she said.

Federal income tax changes effective Jan. 1 mean that members of council must declare their entire remuneration as taxable. The federal government previously exempted one-third of their remuneration on the assumption that elected officials incur expenses throughout their working year.

Councillors must now collect and submit expense receipts, a process that could eventually net councillors more money than they would have under the previous rules.

Coun. Karen Harper, for her part, predicted she will eventually end up with more money.

“On a totally objective sense, this is too much,” she said. “There are of course many other factors that go into this. I’m not going to belabour the point, other than to say that I’m disappointed that other communities didn’t look at the issue from the point of view of, where is the right landing spot in the middle of all of this.”

She later added that she neither opposes the increase nor the fact that councillors are getting raises. “My concern is how do we get to what is the right amount,” she said.

Other members of council were more comfortable with the increase. Coun. Ned Taylor questioned whether councillors will actually come out ahead, noting that circumstances will vary from person to person. This current group of councillors will actually end up with less than the members of the former council, prior to submitting their receipts, he said.

Mayor Fred Haynes picked up on this point in questioning the federal government’s move. Councillors who are not diligent could end up with less, he said, adding that this new process could be time-consuming.

The issue of remuneration will appear before council at a later date, as staff are preparing changes to the policy. These changes could bump up remuneration rates automatically.

While council currently votes on its own rates, chief administrative officer Paul Thorkelsson said the policy actually remains silent on the question of whether councillors must approve their own rates.

Coun. Colin Plant, who said he wants to take the politics out of this question, points out the Capital Regional District automatically lifts rates as part of its budget process, drawing on cost-of-living figures instead of comparative figures from other municipalities.

The increases still require final approval.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

District of Saanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria Hospice staff Brianne Ohl, left, Angela Chalmers, right, and Sandi Ogloff, at back, show off their buttons that show a picture of them smiling. Staff has worked hard to maintain the connections with patients despite the barriers of PPE and rigid COVID-19 protocols. (Victoria Hospice Photo)
Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Victoria Hospice 40th anniversary on pause during pandemic

Look for the Random Act of Kindness Day colouring contest in Black Press issues Jan. 17. Physical entries can be mailed or dropped off to local Black Press offices. A scanned or photographed entry can be emailed to info@victoriafoundation.bc.ca. Winning entries can get a $50 gift card to Bolen Books and a $100 donation to a charity of their choice from the VIctoria Foundation. (Pixabay)
Colouring contest coming for Kindness Day

Kindness Day colouring contest in partnership with Victoria Foundation

Sidney has moved the remaining parts of its public consultation phase part of the Official Community Plan online. (Black Press Media File)
Sidney moves to an ‘all online engagement’ process for OCP

Staff says OCP charrette scheduled for mid-February

(File photo)
‘Very lucky’: Two passengers, dog escape rollover crash in Saanich unscathed

Vehicle flips on Trans Canada Highway after hitting median, possibly due to ice, firefighter says

The large metal gate stolen from Muddy Valley Farm in rural Saanich on Jan. 18 reappeared less than a week later. (Muddy Valley Farm/Facebook)
Large metal gate stolen from Saanich farm makes mysterious reappearance

12-foot gate returned to Muddy Valley Farm less than a week after it was stolen

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Most Read