It took a few meetings, but a new North Battleford city council remuneration policy has been approved.
The final formula was settled Monday night. Council has set the mayor’s remuneration at 78 per cent of salaries of members of the legislative assembly for 2019, and at 80 per cent of MLA’s salaries for 2020. Councillor’s pay is then set at 35 per cent of the mayor’s remuneration.
Initially, the draft policy had proposed setting remuneration at 70 per cent of MLA’s salaries.
The higher percentages will take into account the Jan. 1 federal tax changes that eliminated the one-third tax exemption previously granted to municipal elected officials.
The percentages come closer to keeping councillors whole. However, Mayor Ryan Bater noted they will still take home less after-tax pay than before. Bater said to reporters that even with the higher rate, his own take-home pay would be $3,700 less.
“The take-home pay is still less than what it was a year ago,” said Bater.
Council also considered the budget impact of setting the remuneration percentages. In the end, council decided to phase in the changes over two years to minimize the impact.
The 78 per cent rate takes effect as of Jan. 1 of this year; the 80 per cent rate takes effect Jan. 1, 2020.
Now that the policy is set, it will be binding for city council for the foreseeable future. Councillors will not have any say in setting their own compensation, as compensation will be strictly tied to compensation for MLAs.
“We’re adopting a policy that will be pertinent to future councils,” said Bater. “The big issue was to amend the formula so that council no longer had the ability to impact their own remuneration on an annual basis.”
Previously, they did have the ability to impact their compensation levels because it was tied to the city manager, whose pay levels are set by council. Now, their pay will be tied to that of an MLA.
“It’s actually the committee of the whole in Regina at the legislature who will be establishing any changes. We’ve just established a base,” said Bater.