After a marketplace review of mayor and council’s salaries, Port Alberni city council has voted for a pay raise effective after the next election in 2022.
Independent consultant Julie Case explained to council on Monday, July 12 that compared to 10 other B.C. municipal governments, Port Alberni is “a little bit behind” other communities when it comes to salaries for mayor and council. She examined seven other Island communities as well as Vernon, Williams Lake and Powell River. These salary increases will bring Port Alberni closer to the “median level,” she said.
Back in 2019, council voted to change the way they vote for pay increases. In the third year of each term of council, the city will undertake a marketplace review for mayor and council remuneration. Any changes to remuneration won’t become effective until the year after an election.
In this case, the salary for the mayor will be increased to $59,100 per year (a 39 percent increase) and the salary for councillors will be increased to $26,300 per year (a 40 percent increase), plus adjustments for Consumer Price Index. These changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023, after the next municipal election.
“We’re not giving ourselves a raise, we’re making a decision for the next council,” said Mayor Sharie Minions.
Part of the reason for the large increase is because of a long-standing federal tax exemption for one-third of elected officials’s salaries that expired in 2019, reducing after-tax compensation for elected officials.
Council agreed on Monday that raising salaries is important to ensure that more people can run for election without worrying about finances.
“We as a community will benefit from higher wages on our council because we’re opening it up to being more accessible,” said Councillor Helen Poon. “So that more people can participate in council.”