Regina City Council could be getting a raise in the new year. Starting in January, elected officials will no longer receive a one-third tax exemption, so while Regina’s executive committee is recommending a salary raise, council would take home roughly the same net pay each year if approved.
“This is a really unique circumstance where there’s been no consultation to make these changes,” Mayor Michael Fougere said. “Councillors not making the change means salaries drop dramatically.”
The mayor is currently on pace to make $112,202.50 without the changes, while the part-time city councillors take home $37,400.83.
Without the tax exemption, the mayor would take a $16,000 yearly pay cut, and councillors would lose roughly $3,600.
The proposed raise would see the mayor making $144,832.66 — 99.78 per cent of a Saskatchewan cabinet minister’s salary. Councillors would see their pay go up to $44,507.07.
This would see both groups taking home about the same net pay they do now — but they’ll need to make room for an additional $107,693 in the budget.
Only councillors Jason Mancinelli and Andrew Stevens opposed the decision.
“As a councillor, I’m not interested in maintaining the net pay for city council because something happened through a federal decision,” Mancinelli explained. “Every year, I make decisions that affect taxpayers and sometimes, it’s bad news. Right now, the bad news hit me, and I think I just have to take it.”
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“No other workplace could possibly adjust salaries just to compensate for federal tax changes,” Stevens added.
The committee is also recommending the establishment of a salary review commission to look at council’s long-term pay structure.
“I truly believe salary is a factor in attracting young people, single people, people who have jobs, don’t have jobs and so on,” Coun. Mike O’Donnell said. “You have to take that into account. That fact that I happen to be older and retired and have more free time should not be a factor in whether or not I’m here.”
Saskatoon City Council also took the first steps to approve a similar counteractive raise earlier this week.
The Bridge City could see an additional $122,000 in salary costs, though politicians’ overall income would not grow.
A city report recommends increasing the mayor’s salary to $145,152 — the same as a cabinet minister — from $123,379.
Regina’s proposed pay increase will be forwarded to city council’s Nov. 26 meeting for more discussion and a potential vote.
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