by Colin Smith
Changes to the Council Remuneration Policy have been put on hold until after a planned review of councillors’ compensation to take place later this year.
The policy changes, which were on the agenda for Council’s March 19 Committee of the Whole meeting, included removal of a section referring to a portion of councillors’ compensation being tax-free, which is no longer the case as a result of changes to the Income Tax Act.
Provision of a tablet or laptop computer to Council members was also being addressed.
“The policy was referred back to Administration to be included in the planned Council Compensation Review,” said Mayor Barry Turner. “This means that in addition to reviewing compensation levels relative to other municipalities, the remuneration policy itself will be reviewed and compared with those of other communities in the region.”
“The outcome of this will be recommendations to improve the policy and its application at the same time as considering the overall remuneration levels with comparative information from an objective, third party review,” he said.
An issue the compensation review will consider is whether to boost incomes to offset the tax change that took effect January 1.
Up to that point, one-third of the pay that the mayor and councillors received in the form of honorariums was exempt from taxation, having been considered an allowance in lieu incidental expenses. Their net income dropped as result of the change.
Extension of per diem compensation for attending events that are currently not covered is another area to be reviewed.
The proposed remuneration policy would see members of Council receive an electronic device and software once per four-year term, in order to conduct Council duties. Councillors who currently choose to buy their own electronic device will be provided up to $1,000 to do so.
When leaving Council, the devices can either be returned or purchased on a depreciated basis.