by Dan Ebenal, Black Press
Less than a month after White Rock politicians voted for a raise for their successors – based on stipends paid to their peers in Port Moody, Langley City and Pitt Meadows – Port Moody council has used White Rock figures to help justify increases to their own remuneration.
Port Moody council members gave themselves an early Christmas present last week, when they approved sizable pay hikes at a special meeting that had been called to consider contributing funds toward reconstruction of a hatchery that was destroyed by fire the previous week.
The remuneration vote – held with few members of the public present and no community TV cameras on hand – means councillors’ salaries will jump 29.3 per cent to $33,000 a year, while the mayor’s salary will go to $85,000, up 16.5 per cent from the current rate.
The city had hired Sainas Consult Inc. to deal with the issue and the consultant’s report looked at council pay in the municipalities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Langley and White Rock.
The report found that the average annual salary in those municipalities is $35,314 for councillors and $90,995 for mayors. It suggested that Port Moody councillors’ pay go from the current $25,520 to $33,000 and that the mayor’s salary jump from $72,914 to $83,000.
Last month, White Rock council voted 4-3 in favour of staff recommendations to increase its councillors’ annual stipend by about $3,000 a year (to $29,616) and the mayor’s to $74,041 (a boost of about $14,000). In exploring the issue, staff found the mayor’s current remuneration is nearly $13,000 below the average of his peers.
The White Rock increases are to take effect Jan. 1, 2015.
In Port Moody, council voted 6-2 in favour of the recommended increase for councillors but chose to increase the mayor’s salary to $85,000, $2,000 more than recommended, effective Jan. 1, 2014.