Central Manitoulin council ups stipend 19% in response to federal tax changes

CENTRAL MANITOULIN—In the final meeting of the last term of Central Manitoulin council members voted to increase the mayor and councillor remuneration for the upcoming term of council. The new rates are set at $15,000 for the mayor and $10,000 for the councillor positions.

Previous rates of remuneration were $12,555 for the mayor and $8,370 for the councillor positions. It has been a number of terms since council remunerations were increased, although the remunerations are increased each year to keep pace with the cost of living index.

The increases in remuneration were in response to recent changes in the federal tax regime that eliminated a one-third tax exemption that was intended to compensate members of council for expenses incurred in the course of conducting municipal business. The federal government’s rationale was that municipalities pay most, if not all, of the expenses of its elected officials. Although true of larger urban centres where elected positions are essentially full-time occupations with offices and staff, smaller rural elected officials generally do not have those expenses covered.

“This was a process by which to offset the loss of the tax exempt allowance,” confirmed Mayor Richard Stephens. Central Manitoulin is among the first of local councils to wrestle with the tax changes impacting council pay.

The roughly 19 percent increase to council remuneration passed unanimously without further comment.