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Tofino council approves pay increase

“Perception wise, it will not look good. We will face some flak.”

Tofino’s municipal council approved a pay increase for their successors.

During Oct. 13’s regular meeting, council unanimously supported a new Council Remuneration Bylaw that will add an estimated $40,000 to council’s overall salary. They then officially approved and adopted the new bylaw during the last meeting of their term on Oct. 28.

Under the new bylaw, the base-rate for each councillor would be set at $15,000 and the base-rate for the mayor would be set at $30,000. Under the current bylaw, the councillor base-rate is $11,410 and the mayor’s base-rate is $19,708.

The pay increase was one of several recommendations put forward by an advisory committee struck to investigate Tofino’s Council Renumeration Bylaw.

“Some of the things that are incredibly hard to quantify when you consider workload are the impacts on personal life, the lack of just getting a coffee and being yourself and not mayor or councillor,” said committee member Kyle Meagher during a presentation to council.

Fellow committee member Bobby Lax said the increase in compensation could encourage more residents to run for council and could also help with continuity.

“To keep them more than one term when they’re in the dollar-earning time of their life, maybe this is a slight step closer,” he said.

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Coun. Greg Blanchette, who is not running for re-election, said the increase was the right move.

“We’re increasing it from a pittance to a slightly larger pittance,” he said. “I appreciate the work that the advisory committee has done and the heat they’ve taken off of us as council setting our own pay rate.”

Coun. Al Anderson agreed.

“I think this is the first time that council really did it right by getting a committee outside of council to do this work and also to do it at the end of a term,” he said.

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Coun. Duncan McMaster voted in favour of the increase, but said the move would not be popular amongst residents, especially considering the tax increases on their way to pay for Tofino’s proposed sewage treatment facility.

“The timing stinks. We know we’re going to have big tax increases next year and we’re going to be approving a pay increase,” he said. “Perception wise, it will not look good. We will face some flak.”

READ MORE: Tofino pursues $40 million grant for sewage treatment

The increase in council’s pay would lead to a roughly 1.33 per cent tax increase if it is covered entirely through taxation, though whether the money could be found in the current budget without a tax increase has not yet been discussed, according to Tofino’s Director of Finance Nyla Attiana.

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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