by Colin Smith
Morinville Town Councillors are paid significantly less than the average for elected officials in comparative Alberta municipalities, according to a compensation review.
Council received the Council Remuneration Review report at its July 9 regular meeting.
Prepared by Ed Grose of Red Deer-based hr outlook, it was done in conjunction with the 2019 Morinville Administration compensation review.
The review was prompted by a change in the tax treatment of municipal council salaries/honorariums that came into force 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 of incidental expenses.
The question for Councillors became whether to raise honorariums to make up for the resulting drop in net income. In November they decided on the Council Remuneration Review for input on the decision.
The review compared compensation rates for Morinville Council with those in 10 other municipalities: Beaumont, Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Sturgeon County, Lacombe, Cochrane, Hinton, Whitecourt and Edson.
The Mayor of Morinville receives an annual honorarium of $43,697, while Councillors are paid $21,848.
The average compensation among these municipalities for Mayor/Reeve is $74,068, with Morinville paying less than all except Edson, at $40,200.
The report notes that some of the Mayors are full-time. If only part-time Mayors are considered, the average salary is $60,426.
For Councillors, the average is $33,109, with those in Hinton and Whitecourt receiving the least, at $21,600 and $19,765.
The part-time Mayor of Sturgeon County is paid $78,089, the Deputy Mayor $59,869 and Councillors $52,061.
Members of some Councils, including Morinville’s, receive additional income in the form of per-diem fates for attending specific meetings or events.
According to Grose, nine of the 11 municipalities compared have adjusted Council compensation to account for the tax change, the exceptions being Morinville and Sturgeon County, which is conducting a “citizen review.”
If the adjustment is made, the honorarium for Morinville’s Mayor will be $50,251 and Councillors will receive $24,929.
Council will now consider proposed changes to the Council Compensation Policy that were put off earlier this year until receipt of the report.
Discussions of the policy were put off until its August 27 meeting due to the absence of Councillor Nicole Boutestein.