Council seeks wage hike
Even as one councillor decried a proposed pay hike for Qualicum Beach’s mayor and council this week, another was calling for a bigger salary — at least for the mayor.
The issue arose at Wednesday’s special council meeting, when council debated a proposed remuneration and expenses bylaw for whoever is voted into office in the November municipal election.
In a report to council, chief administrative officer Mark Brown noted the average mayor’s remuneration across B.C. towns and cities is $32,384, while the average for a councillor is $13,699.
The current remuneration in Qualicum Beach is $31,300 for the mayor and $19,699 for a councillor.
The report called for a three per cent, per year, increase for both mayor and council positions, noting most municipalities have seven members on council, as opposed to the five in Qualicum Beach. The average total remuneration, he added, is $81,250, while Qualicum Beach’s tab comes in at $78,500.
Councillor Jack Wilson said he wasn’t comfortable with the increase of three per cent per year for the next three years.
“I think that’s a little rich. I think two per cent is more in line with what inflation is. We are already the fourth highest paid council in the province, after Courtenay, Fort St. John, White Rock and Whistler.”
Wilson discounted the calculation of the total council tab being lower than average, calling that a spurious argument.
“It’s all about what each councillor makes, not what the total council makes,” he said before making a motion to reduce the increase to two per cent.
That motion didn’t get a seconder and so failed.
Councillor Barry Avis took a different tack, however, noting that Qualicum Beach is one of the few municipalities where the mayor doesn’t make roughly twice as much as a councillor and suggesting this ratio be examined in future.
Council passed first reading of the new remuneration bylaw, with Wilson voting in opposition and Coun. Kent Becker absent.
The issue will come up again at the June 13 council meeting.