When Council salaries were increased last year with effect at the start of this Council’s term, it was agreed that there would be a review “if and when the tax free allowance was removed”. As expected, this did happen on January first. Perhaps using this as a cue, the Cobourg Taxpayers Association in the person of Paul Pagnuelo, made a presentation to Council last night suggesting that Councillors should be paid fairly so as to encourage talented individuals to run other than those independently wealthy and/or retired. Paul pointed to the salary paid to Port Hope’s Mayor and said that Cobourg’s should be paid the same. Paul also suggested that the Deputy Mayor should get 90% of this and Councillors should get 80%.
If Councillors work 35 hours a week, they are currently paid less than minimum wage.
Current salaries and CTA Proposal:
|Salary Prior to 2018||Current Salary||Hourly rate||% of Mayor’s||CTA Proposal||% of Mayor’s|
Paul gave a number of reasons for the change:
- Need for greater accountability to address growing community expectations
- Council salaries should not be a barrier to those seeking to serve in public office
- Level of compensation should attract and retain competent, motivated and well qualified community minded citizens
- The complexity, responsibilities, time commitments and accountabilities expected of each Council member
- Remuneration must be transparent, fiscally responsible, and easily understood by the electorate
Paul estimated the cost of the increase in a full year to be $100,000.
When it came time for an “Action”, Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin moved that (summarized):
The CTA report be received for information and since Council agreed to review councillor salaries if and when the tax free allowance was removed (it was, on Jan 1st 2019), that salaries be set as follows effective January 1st, 2020 and pending approval in the 2020 operating budget:
|Salary||% of Mayor’s|
- Formal review to take place in the third year of every Council’s term of office
- No change in Benefits
- CPI Adjustments continue to be made
- Police board remuneration changed – no longer calculated as a percentage of Councillors. Instead be fixed at Board Chair $8,236 and board members $6,589. Both subject to CPI adjustment. Reviewed in third year of Council’s term.
When asked why not use the same numbers as the CTA proposal, Suzanne said she was not comfortable with that and in any case, these numbers could be reviewed in year three. She commented that this is taxpayers’ money and it’s a big step.
Councillors felt that the Public should have an input but since the change is subject to approval in the 2020 budget, most felt that this would provide adequate time for feedback.
The motion carried although it’s subject to confirmation at next week’s regular Council meeting.