Rossland council took the first step in giving the next council a bump in pay after finding it was on the low end of the remuneration paradigm.
Rossland chief administrative officer (CAO) Bryan Teasdale released a report at Jan. 10 council that showed the adopted 2018 Remuneration Bylaw paid Rossland mayor an annual salary of $17,183 and council members $8,762, woefully behind municipalities of comparable size.
“It’s been a long time coming for a job that gets more and more complicated every day,” said Coun. Andy Morel at council’s Feb. 7 meeting at the Miners Hall. “Our remuneration for council and mayor was sadly one of the lowest in the province per capita, which some thought was a good thing.
“But the responsibilities of the job, workload and increasing complexity really did necessitate us to consider the true value of the positions.”
Rossland council was tasked with reviewing the remuneration bylaw no later than Apr. 30, 2022, in this election year.
As a result, staff recommend that following the October municipal election, the draft bylaw increase the Rossland’s mayor’s annual remuneration on Nov. 1 to $30,000, and increase councillors’ to $15,000.
The salaries have been adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index, so that in 2020, the Mayor received $18,691 and council $9,532.
However, the 2020 annual survey of 24 B.C. communities of similar size found the average pay for the mayor to be $28,531 and for councillors $14,529 that year.
The highest was Gibsons at $40,500 and $20,250 respectively.
In the Kootenay region, Sparwood, almost identical in population, paid their mayor twice as much, $37,480, and council $16,101, while Creston came in at $31,371 for mayor, and council, $15,686.
Morel said that the updated pay scale would also motivate more people to run for election in October, 2022.
“With an upcoming election at the end of this year, we want to encourage people to run for the position of mayor and council, and we’ve heard from others in the past that the amount of time it takes to do the work involved and the loss of their own income isn’t replaceable with the previous remuneration,” he said.
“I feel it’s really important moving forward, and more fair to all who sit in these chairs.”
A first reading motion to give the proposal for increased remuneration, as presented, carried unanimously.