Comparisons released on council pay

With council expected to vote on an amended remuneration bylaw at its July 26 meeting, there’s been some disagreement between councillors as to whether or not they should get the benefits their predecessors did.
A survey of seven other communities that the previous council used last year as a basis for comparison before it decided to change the bylaw in the first place showed not all municipalities are paying their elected officials the same.
In Fort Frances (population 8,315), the mayor’s salary in 2003 was $18,094.
(This later was increased to $21,594 a year after the outgoing council decided this was too low considering the average mayoral salary for the north, and that the number of hours and amount of travel that goes into the job was beyond the typical councillor).
Councillors make $10,171. The per diem for out-of-town travel is $80/day.
Currently, if they so choose, councillors can pay for a benefits package (including extended health care, dental, and life insurance), valued at $3,511, out of their salary.
But if the amended bylaw is passed July 26, this benefits package will be covered and not have to come out of their salary. This was the way it was prior to the outgoing council changing the remuneration bylaw early last year.
Meanwhile, in Dryden (population 7,731), the mayor makes $18,000 a year while councillors get $8,000. Their per diem rate is $100, and they receive no benefits and no additional compensation.
In Kenora, with a population of 15,444, the mayor makes $22,800 a year while the councillors get $11,400. Their per diem rate is $100, but again they receive no additional compensation nor any benefits.
In Marathon (population of 4,300), the mayor makes $17,550 and the councillors $8,134. Their per diem rate is $125. Additional compensation consists of a $300 credit towards a membership at the town’s recreation complex.
They receive no benefits, but their salary may see increases annually according to union negotiations there.
In Red Lake (population 4,300), the mayor is paid an annual salary of $16,000 while the councillors gets $7,200. The per diem rate is $110.
The mayor also gets a $100/month car allowance while councillors get $500/year mileage allowance.
They are eligible for extended health care and dental benefits, but not life insurance. These benefits are paid for by the council members who elect to buy into them.
In Kapuskasing, with its population of 9,325, the mayor is paid $19,362/year while councillors are paid $8,068. They get a $134 per diem for out-of-town travel.
They also can get health and dental benefits, but they have to pay for them 100 percent.
In Renfrew, located in the Ottawa Valley, where the population is $7,942, the mayor annually is paid $19,850.27 while the councillors get $6,565.66.
They get no per diem compensation, no additional compensations, and no benefits.
And in Midland, on Georgian Bay north of Barrie, with a population of 16,110, the mayor gets $23,129/year while councillors earn $13,030. They get no per diem compensation, no additional compensations, and no benefits.
When the salaries for these eight communities are added together and averaged out, the average mayor salary is $19,348.15 while the average councillor salary is $9,071.08.
This list of communities and the dollar amounts, obtained by the Times, initially was distributed to the outgoing council in May, 2003.
As reported in last week’s Times, whether or not councillors once again will get their health benefits package paid for, in addition to their total salary, will be determined when council votes on the amended bylaw at its July 26 meeting.
At the last council meeting (June 28), council appeared split on the issue. Mayor Dan Onichuk, along with Couns. Neil Kabel, Struchan Gilson, and Rick Wiedenhoeft, voted in favour of amending the remuneration bylaw while Couns. Roy Avis and Todd Hamilton voted against it.
Coun. Tannis Drysdale, who was not at the meeting, said in an interview the following day that she’s certain she’ll vote against the amended bylaw come July 26.
(Fort Frances Times)