Final decision will be made by new council
GORDON/BARRIE ISLAND—Council for the municipality of Gordon/Barrie Island has passed first reading on a motion toward increasing the remuneration that the reeve and councillors are paid.
The 15 percent increase “is a big increase we’re proposing but it’s just catching up on what the rates should be, especially when you compare ours to most other municipal councils,” said councillor Bill Baker after a regular council meeting last week.
Reeve Lee Hayden mentioned to council that it had discussed this issue briefly at a meeting in October. Then at a Manitoulin municipal council meeting last week with lawyer Fred Dean, “he said with changes to the Canada Revenue Agency’s one-third tax exemptions for councillors, he encouraged councils to look at the remuneration they were paying mayors or reeves and councillors.”
Mr. Dean had indicated councils should be increasing the stipends by 13 percent, council was told.
It was pointed out as well there have been no increases in Gordon reeve/councillor remunerations since at least 2013.
Meanwhile, “the cost of living has increased,” said Mr. Baker. During the term of council, “I having been a member of the (Manitoulin Centennial) Manor board and the Manitoulin-Sudbury DSB (District Services Board) and based on the rates they provide, to attend a council meeting and to receive $60 comes down to basically an insult.” He pointed out that on the Manor Board, board members receive $75 per meeting, while with the DSB, board members receive about $98 per meeting plus mileage and a monthly amount.
Mr. Baker, who did not put his name forward for council in the last municipal election, proposed that for the position of reeve, “the reeve should receive $425 monthly plus $95 per council and committee meeting; especially given all the aggravation and responsibility the reeve has to put up with.”
For council members, Mr. Baker proposed this should be increased to $300 per month and $75 per committee and council meeting. As well, both the reeve and councillor positions should receive 52 cents per kilometre per meeting in mileage outside the municipality.
“With the amount of issues that have to be dealt with by council, and especially the reeve, there should be an increase,” said Mr. Baker. He added, “if we pass first reading of this motion the new council would be able to finalize this or if they feel council and the mayor should receive more they could put this in place. I also think the rates for remuneration should be set in January of an election year, so councillors and new candidates know this in advance.”
“It can become a policy that is to be reviewed yearly,” said Reeve Hayden.
Councillor Betty Noble, who is retiring from council (at the end of this term) after serving for 29 years said, “I can’t remember what we received (in remuneration) when I started on council.”
“You probably don’t want to know,” quipped clerk Carrie Lewis.
“It is an honour to serve the municipality on council but it does deserve some monetary recognition,” stated Mr. Baker.
Council was unanimous in agreeing to pass first reading on the motion and the proposed figure increases, which will take effect if the new council agrees to them.