County councillors give themselves a raise

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County council members will get paid a little more.

At its regular meeting Jan. 23, county council adopted a policy to increase their monthly allowance to cover a change in federal taxation.

The monthly allowance for the reeve increases to $1,550 from $1,200, for the deputy reeve to $1,250 from $900 and for councillors to $1,150 from $800.

On average, council members will receive the same after-tax income as they did before the change.

“At its regular meeting Jan. 9, administration was directed to prepare changes to the policy to increase the monthly allowances paid to council in order to compensate them for the elimination of a preferential tax deduction available to elected officials,” says Heather Nanninga, director of corporate services.

“In order for the average after-tax impact for councillors to be eliminated, council would need to be paid an additional $4,200 for annually before tax or $350 more each month.”

The federal deduction allowed up to one third of a councillor’s pay to be paid out as a reimbursement of expenses, rather than taxable income, Nanninga says.

But due to a change in federal legislation, all income will be taxable, as is the case for other employment income.

Monthly allowance reimburses council members for time spent on miscellaneous electoral duties such as telephone calls, site or project visits, and time to prepare for county business, the policy states.

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