Local politicians head to their council tables in earnest after the Oct. 20 election and are starting to get their first paycheques of their new term.
The way they are being paid will change Jan. 1 as new federal tax rules take away the tax-free status they enjoyed on one third of their incomes. But the amount they are being paid, in most cases, has been adjusted upwards to make sure no one earns less.
Here's seven things you might not have known about local politicians and how they are paid:
1. As would be expected, the pay rate for mayor is higher for those in the bigger cities.
West Kelowna: $65,848
2. The Mayor’s salary is only part of the compensation paid since mayors also sit on their respective regional district boards. That adds between $6,220 (Penticton) to $18,541 (Kelowna) to the mayor’s compensation. So, their base salary really is:
West Kelowna: $84,389
3. Mayors typically get additional perks with leases on cars, health benefits, per diems when out of town at meetings, etc. There are a myriad of different rules and policies depending on the municipality and often aren’t spelled out entirely. What is easier to find, are the actual expenses charged by mayors in 2017, but it’s unclear if these expenses include other entitlements like vehicles.
West Kelowna: $6,707
* The expenses listed for the Kamloops mayor for 2017 may not be indicative as that position was vacated for a time then filled after a byelection.
4. While each member on council casts one vote, councillors are not compensated nearly as well as mayors. Here’s how their remuneration breaks down.
West Kelowna: $22,350
5. Municipal councillors who sit on regional district boards get paid a base rate of:
Central Okanagan: $18,541
North Okanagan: $8,058
If they happen to chair those boards, as is the case with Kelowna Coun. Gail Given who chairs the Central Okanagan board, she gets an extra $47,671 on top of her city council salary ($36,227) for an annual total of $83,898.
Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton is chair of the North Okanagan Regional District so he gets $27,795 in addition to his mayor’s salary. In the other regional districts, the chairs both come from the electoral (rural) areas.
6. Electoral area directors are paid more than those from incorporated towns and cities, with rates varying between and within regional districts.
Central Okanagan: $23,176-$28,735
North Okanagan: $10,016
7. Regional districts all provide for per-meeting payments, ranging from $130 (Central Okanagan for four hours or more) up to $232.44 (Okanagan-Similkameen). This is not for regular board meetings.
Any questions? Maybe we can help. Hit us up through our Facebook page or by email with questions about local government or politicians and we'll do our best to find out for you.
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