A resounding "no" was heard at Parksville's city council meeting on Monday when a review of councillor's pay and expenses was presented. The report suggested that the annual remuneration be increased for the incoming council.
"People are concerned about the increased cost of government," said Coun. Al Greir. "We have to put a stop somewhere."
The city's current bylaw states a review of remuneration and expenses are to be made every three years. According to the report's summary, these reviews are done so the existing council can set "comparable market remuneration rates for the incoming council." Any such changes would have to be made via bylaw amendment, as was done in 2011.
Current market rates presented in the report were calculated through a survey of council salaries. This survey concluded the average mayoral salary was $33,631 per annum and that councillors receive $14,333.
Since 2011, Parksville's mayor annually earns $33,574, which is 0.17 per cent lower than the average calculated, and councillors make $13,945, 2.7 per cent lower than the average. One-third of this remuneration is tax free. Council also receives travel expenses; however, the report stated that the current amount they receive is in line with other jurisdictions.
Also, according to Parksville's current bylaw, council remuneration sees an annual increase based on the Consumer Price Index for British Columbia. As the CPI did not increase in 2014, there was no such increase this past year.
However, many councillors did not see a need for an increase in remuneration at this time. "What we receive for remuneration is enough," said Councillor Sue Powell.
"Bottom line is, we do it (sit on council) because we want to," said Coun. Marc Lefebvre.
Councillor Carrie Powell-Davidson, however, saw the issue differently. As the new terms for city governance are going to be four years instead of three, she feels wages need to be increased to be attractive for candidates.
There was a recommendation in the report to amend the current remuneration bylaw to have council review their wages every four years in accordance with the new legislation.
Said Mayor Chris Burger: "It's not a full-time job, it's a lifestyle; a seven-day affair and a big factor in why I'm not running again."