The La Broquerie Council moved to raise their net pay in response to the loss of a federal tax perk.
The recently implemented “Income Tax Act” calls for politicians to pay taxes on one hundred percent of their yearly compensation, as opposed to the two-thirds previously required.
At the La Broquerie Council meeting on Wednesday, the rewritten indemnity bylaw was given first reading and had one discrepancy catch council’s eye. The bylaw stated that any unexplained meeting absence would be deducted from a councillor’s monthly compensation.
This clause drew the attention of council who felt it was unfair and unnecessary to penalize someone who was unable to give a timely reason for their absence.
According to CAO Anne Burns, a councillor had anonymously asked for this statement to be added to the bylaw. However, when it was met with overall disapproval by council, it was not defended by the councillor who made the suggestion.
As a result of this dissent, the new clause was officially removed from the indemnity bylaw. This means that councillors will continue to be paid whether or not they attend council meetings.
“The clause was never in there before so I don’t understand why we should put it in now,” says Reeve Lewis Weiss expressing his reasoning. “In my opinion, if you phone me and you’re not at the meeting or you don’t phone me and you’re not at the meeting, what’s the difference? You’re still not there.”
Weiss continues: “If this would be something that was happening every month it would be a concern, but I don’t think this is a concern”.
If this indemnity bylaw is passed, the reeve’s annual pay will move from $17,805 to $20,721. Similarly, ward councillors would see their yearly income increase from $12,324 to $15,240.
Weiss stresses these raises will not affect the money in councillor’s pockets but are exclusively intended to keep take-home pay the same for council members.