Town council isn’t looking for a raise, but it will still strike a committee to review the way the mayor and councillors are paid.
Council’s policy is to review its remuneration in the year prior to the next municipal election.
“It is that time,” Mayor Shawn Patience said.
Town of Fort Macleod municipal manager David Connauton reminded council March 11 of the review practice laid out in By-law 1730.
Connauton pointed out in his written report the last review was carried out by a committee made up of council members, citizens and town administration.
The committee’s make-up is not part of the by-law.
“David is just wanting to formalize that,” Patience said. “We don’t have any inclusion in this by-law. It just leaves it up to us. David is suggesting we might want to entrench that.”
Coun. Sharan Randle pointed out council as part of its ongoing discussions has already reviewed its own pay.
“If we reviewed it, and it was the consensus that it stay the way it is, why would we strike a committee?” Randle asked.
Patience said it is a good idea to involve the public in a review of council’s pay.
“It’s a matter of inclusion and keeping the public involved in the process,” Patience said. “It’s one of those things, you don’t want to be seen as necessarily setting your own standards in terms of pay.”
“By involving the public you get some additional ideas and thoughts.”
Randle posed the question of what happens if the committee recommends an increase when council didn’t plan on one.
“It’s kind of like spinning our wheels,” Randle said. “If there’s no intent or we don’t see the need to change it, why would we strike a committee?”
Patience stressed public input is important, and also pointed out the length of council’s term increases to four years starting in October 2013, from the previous three-year terms.
That means if council did not review its salary this year, it would be seven years between reviews since the last one was done in 2010.
“That’s probably too far between reviews,” Patience said.
The salary review committee in 2009-’10 included public members Gordon MacIvor, Don Gray and Sigmund Sobolewski as well as councillors Christine Trowbridge and Gordon Wolstenholme.
The committee’s research revealed mayors and reeves of all Alberta towns, cities, municipal districts and counties earned an average of $30,011 a year, or $13,771 more than the mayor of Fort Macleod.
The committee also discovered councillors of all Alberta towns, cities, municipal districts and counties earned an average of $17,442 a year, or $10,100 more than Fort Macleod councillors.
The committee recommended the mayor’s annual honorarium increase by $1,200 to $7,200 and council’s annual honorarium increased by $700 to $4,200.
The committee also recommended the mayor will receive a flat rate of $150 and councillors $100 for meetings of council, the finance committee and council committees of the whole. Prior to that change the mayor and councillors got $40 for meetings up to two hours in length, and $20 for each additional hour.
“That was the first time we had a committee,” Wolstenholme said. “The other two times council did it ourselves. With the committee that was by far the highest upward motion of the money.”
Council in September 2007 increased the annual honorarium paid to the mayor to $6,000, from $5,300.
The annual honorarium paid to councillors also increased in 2007, to $3,500 from $3,180.
The annual expense account for the mayor and councillors increased in 2007 to $500, from $366.
Council will advertise for three public members to serve on the review committee for 2013.