Morinville – Town Council examined, discussed and approved revisions to the remuneration policy for mayor and councillors during their Sept. 14 regular meeting.
The revisions were an answer to requests to update the council remuneration and per diem policy to make rates consistent with Capital Region Board (CRB) per diem rates and to allow for reimbursements for personal cell phones used for council business.
Although Morinville’s mayor is issued a cell phone and plan by the municipality, councillors often use their personal cell phones to conduct council business. Administration proposed revising the policy to allow councillors to claim a maximum of $75 per month or $900 per year for the use of their cell phones; however, not all councillors felt that amount was in line with reality.
Outgoing Councillor Joe Gosselin said $75 per month would cover the entire cost of his cell phone package and advocated lowering the maximum reimbursement for councillors to $25 or $30 per month. Councillor Joseph Trapani agreed the amount was excessive and took the matter a step further, recommending that councillors cap their reimbursement at $500 per year, including personal cell phone and home internet use, as well as any personal printing they do from home for council business.
The revised policy does not affect the remuneration paid to mayor and council and is the compensation paid to council for regular and special meetings, as well as committee meetings and other council-related activities, including parades, ribbon cuttings and cheque presentations. Morinville’s mayor will receive $2,300 per month, the deputy mayor $1,400 and councillors $1,100 per month.
However, council will be paid a per diem of $200 per day for meetings and educational activities that fall outside the realm of regular council duties. The per diem, which is a $20 increase from previous rates, will be paid regardless of where the event is held. Additionally, council receives out of pocket expenses, including $60 per day in meal allowances plus mileage when travelling, rates that will be adjusted over time to keep in line with provincial levels.
In a related piece of policy, council unanimously approved replacing the laptops used by mayor and council every three years to coincide with the municipal election cycle. Council heard the move would allow the municipality to maintain greater technical continuity.
The policy ensures that councillors will receive computer hardware and software for the duration of their term of office. Under the policy, councillors now have the option to return the laptops and accessories to the Town at the end of their term or purchase the items at a depreciated cost.