City council, during the regular August 11 meeting looked at a draft resolution that would bump up their pay.
Here’s how the proposal was worded in the agenda:
“Resolved that Staff draft a new ‘Council Remuneration Bylaw’ to include a 25 per cent increase for the year 2015 followed by a 10 per cent increase for each year in 2016, 2017 and 2018.”
Each year CivicInfo BC publishes surveys available to local governments, comparing such topics as wages and benefits. The survey indicates that, among communities with a population of 4,000 or less, Rossland has the lowest paid municipal or district council in the province.
On a list of 22 comparable communities (cities, towns, villages and districts) Rossland came in at number 22 with a mayors annual salary and expenses of $11,797. Councillors also were the lowest paid on the list, at $6,016. The average of the salaries listed were $19,790 and $10,564 for mayors and councillors, respectively.
Councillor Judy Blomme moved in favour of the boost, citing the possibility that greater compensation could lead to a greater variety of citizens deciding to run for council seats.
“It’s really unfortunate that we’re on the bottom of the list,” she said.
“I agree that it’s unfortunate we’re at the bottom of the heap,” said Councillor Kathy Moore. It’s really important to get more people to run.”
Moore referred to people she’s heard about who do contract work, and if they could maybe drop a contract or two they could have time for council.
“We might get some other interesting people to work,” she added.
Moore, however, indicated she’d vote against the motion because it “… kind of sets unrealistic expectations.”
Councillor Tim Thatcher said he didn’t know of anyone in civic politics who runs for the money. He also stated the opinion that the matter should be left for the next council to decide upon.
Mayor Greg Granstrom agreed that anyone entering this field with a financial motivation is misguided.
“This is a public service job without a doubt,” he said. “If you want to support your community, this is the place to do it. To say that if we increase remuneration, we will increase the (number of) people that run. I disagree with that.”
Councillor Cary Fisher was last to speak on the issue, as Councillor Jill Spearn was absent from the meeting.
“I really don’t notice the money that we make,” said Fisher. “So raising it by 25 per cent doesn’t really matter one way or the other.”