The Steinbach Mayor's Task Force on city council remuneration has recommended a significant raise for members of city council. The task force was led by chair Les Magnusson, a former mayor. He was joined by accountant Sara Neufeld and former school superintendent John Peters. Magnusson told council Tuesday night that they studied many other municipalities and found Steinbach's mayor and councillors are underpaid.
"After completing the meetings and reviewing many remuneration bylaws and indemnities, it was found that City of Steinbach councillors and the mayor have been paid less than most municipalities. In conclusion, the task force feels the Steinbach mayor and council have been underpaid in comparison to most municipalities."
The task force recommends the mayor's pay be increased from $32,000 per year to $44,000, an increase of 37%. It says councillors should get a raise from $12,500 thousand dollars to $18 thousand, an increase of 44% with the deputy mayor getting an additional $2,400. Magnusson says the task force also suggests members of city council receive a $100 per month technology allowance. And, it recommends that the mayor should be at city hall for half a day, twice per week.
Mayor Chris Goertzen says council appreciates the time and effort put into the report and will take some time to review it.
"It was very good to get an outside perspective of what remuneration should be happening for our members of council. Council will look at it carefully over the next few weeks and decide what action it wishes to take. It's never easy to give yourself raises or deal with your own pay but, at the same time, that is what we are tasked for. And so to have these recommendations is great. They've done a very good job of looking at many municipalities and doing comparisons and so they need to be commended for their work and the diligence that they put into making sure that the recommendations were sound."
Goertzen acknowledges the recommended increases look like a lot.
"It is surprising when you see it on paper. At the same time, the logic that they're using does seem to make sense. Obviously, council will have to deal with this and decide what action they wish to take. We have to be mindful of what is realistic for our city. At the same time, these recommendations were asked for and so we will consider them."
In its findings, the task force noted a Member of the Manitoba Legislature receives a base salary of $93,000. It believes a full-time mayor would be worth 86% of that or $80,000. It says the Steinbach mayor's job is just over half time and therefore came up with the $44,000 figure. It feels a full-time councillor should get 65% of an MLA's base salary or just over $60,000 per year. Then, considering a councillor's job is about 30% of full time, it arrived at the figure of $18,135.