Smithers Town Council. At their Nov. 26 meeting the Town voted 4-2 in support of adopting a new policy on council remuneration. The new policy increases remuneration amounts to just over a 12 per cent increase for all positions on council: $3,735, $2,076 and $1862 respectively for mayor, deputy mayor and councillor. Councillors John Buikema and Lorne Benson voted against the motion. (File photo)

Smithers Town Council. At their Nov. 26 meeting the Town voted 4-2 in support of adopting a new policy on council remuneration. The new policy increases remuneration amounts to just over a 12 per cent increase for all positions on council: $3,735, $2,076 and $1862 respectively for mayor, deputy mayor and councillor. Councillors John Buikema and Lorne Benson voted against the motion. (File photo)

Smithers Town Council votes itself a pay raise

The increase amounts to just over a 12 per cent increase for mayor and councillor positions

Council is getting a pay raise — well, sort of.

At their Nov. 26 meeting the Town voted 4-2 in support of adopting a new policy on council remuneration.

Councillors John Buikema and Lorne Benson voted against the motion.

The new policy increases remuneration amounts by just over 12 per cent for all positions on council: $3,735, $2,076 and $1,862 respectively for mayor, deputy mayor and councillor.

This brings total remuneration to $32,276.00 (mayor) $17,932.00 (deputy mayor) and $16,133.00 (councillor).

The policy takes effect Jan. 1.

READ MORE: Paving budget and choices by Smithers council

In their discussion of the policy council unanimously acknowledged the awkwardness of what amounts to deliberating on how much they make in their positions.

“It’s hard to think of giving yourself a raise, especially with

somebody else’s money,” said Coun. Frank Wray, noting that the Town was in the awkward position of being forced to vote on remuneration policies that will directly affect them.

He added that traditionally council would vote on policies that would affect subsequent councils but not the ones who made the initial decision.

“This should have been done before the [municipal] election so that we didn’t have this discomfort,” said Wray.

Buikema echoed Wray’s statements.

“I was most comfortable with [the smallest increase option] just because I do have difficulty giving myself a raise,” he said.

But Buikema also acknowledged the amount of work which goes into certain municipal positions, particularly the role of mayor.

“I did reflect on how many hours the mayor seems to put into their position.”

While the new policy does technically pay councillors and the mayor more, it was done with recent changes to tax legislation in mind.

Acting mayor Gladys Atrill explained the reason it was important to address the issue is because of changes to how council is paid.

“There used to be a one-third portion of the stipend that was not taxed,” explained Atrill, who added the changes effectively meant council members are taking a pay cut.

“It’s all taxed now so without a change it actually means that councillors will earn less this year.”

READ MORE: Smithers hires new CAO

Despite awkwardness surrounding the policy, council also noted a large element of remuneration policy is centred around trying to encourage a diverse range of individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds to become involved in municipal politics.

“When I think of it holistically I think about [trying to] encourage a diverse range of people at the council table,” said Coun. Casda Thomas.

“Knowing that there’s a byelection coming up… I think we shouldn’t go backwards.”

Atrill agreed.

“Part of this corrects I think what was a mistake by the previous council … of not dealing with it.

“Councillor Thomas I think rather elegantly phrased what’s coming and we heard it actually from the citizen’s committee at the beginning of the term last council that this has to be addressed and it speaks to who might be willing to run in the future.”



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pellet plants deal with a lot of combustible materials. (File photo)
“Fire-related event” at Houston pellet plant injures three, shuts down operations

Rumours of an associated explosion cannot be confirmed at this time

The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce coveted Alpine Man Statue for winners of the 2020 Community and Business Awards Nov 25. (contributed photo)
Smithers Feed Store named Business of the Year

Chamber of Commerce Community and Business Awards handed out in virtual ceremony via Zoom

The Terrace River Kings lost 9-3 to the Quesnel Kangaroos on Mar. 2, 2019 in the final CIHL playoffs. (Lindsay Chung Photo)
Central Interior Hockey League cancels 2020/21 season

League open to playing exhibition games if possible

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
Regional district frustrated with CN response to grievances

‘A lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’: Houston mayor Shane Brienen

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Most Read