Kent council to get pay raise

Fisher votes against CAO's suggestions for increase to remuneration in Agassiz

Kent council has voted to give themselves a raise, after reading a report from the District’s CAO Wallace Mah that showed a disparity in remuneration among similar-sized communities.

Mah told council that the current amounts are “falling substantially behind” what comparative communities are paying for their elected officials.

Council voted 4-1 in favour of the increase in pay, with Councillor Lorne Fisher voicing his opposition to the amount of the increase.

The mayor’s remuneration will increase from $19,534 per year to $24,419 and the four council positions will increase from $10,655 to $12,111 each. The new numbers were calculated by comparing 13 B.C. communities of a similar size, and finding the average.

While the increase is meant to bring council’s remuneration in line with other communities, Mah’s report also stated that the hours of work put into the position should be considered.

“The modest increase may help in offsetting lost wages for leaving their job, or to assist with the operation cost of bringing in additional help to support the business,” the report said.

The raise does not sit well with Fisher, who sat as mayor for the past two terms.

“It’s probably unfair of me to express an opinion on this, because I’m the only one here that doesn’t work for a living,” he said. “It’s not as if I lose money by being here, whereas for the others there is a cost.”

The last time council visited renumeration was in 2008, when it was decided to stick with the Cost of Living Allowance/ Consumer Price Index percentage, he said.

That is the route Fisher hoped council would take again.

Mah did list an alternative in his report to take that route, increasing remuneration by 2.9 per cent, instead of the 25 per cent and 13 per cent increases suggested in the report.

“I would be much more comfortable going that route,” Fisher said. “Number one, it’s the policy we have in place. And number two, even though we would still be behind, I don’t necessarily agree with the amounts being paid in some of those areas.”

A smaller increase would have kept Kent in line with Hope, which currently pays their mayor $19,104 and councillors $9,551.

Mayor John Van Laerhoven supported the increase, saying that other communities would be increasing their remuneration for council as well.

“I think its fair to increase them to the average,” he said. “I know that if we do just give it the CPI increase we won’t catch up to the status quo, because my understanding is that in other districts, at lot of these numbers will receive a lift … so we will continue to be down there.”

Other councillors commented cautiously on the increases before voting.

“I think to be average would be fair,” Councillor Holger Schwichtenberg said.

“I always thought that the mayor should be compensated higher to what he was making,” added Councillor Darcy Striker.

“But the councillors? That’s a tough one for me,” he said. “Because some weeks I’m really busy at meetings and some week I’m not so busy. But looking at the averages, we’re way behind Harrison, that’s for sure.”

With a community of 1,573 (the smallest population used in Mah’s report), the Village pays their mayor $30,000 and councillors $15,000. The only community in the report that pays more is Sparwood, with a population of 3,618.

Striker said that being a councillor does interfere with holiday plans with family at times “and compensation for that would nice.”

“The increase isn’t that much, (at $1,456 annually) so I would be fine with it,” he said.

Councillor Duane Post, serving his first term, said he didn’t feel his portion needed to go up.

“But the mayor’s compensation needs to go up to put it in line with other communities, knowing how much time the mayor puts in,” he said. “It’s a full time job and he’s being paid part time for it.”

The mayor called the decision “a difficult one” and thanked council for their input.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Chilliwack students and staff perform with Steven Point

Chilliwack secondary school students and staff perform song written by former Lieutenant Governor

Chilliwack maternity ward closure narrowed to two weeks

Fraser Health says they’ve found a solution to an expected 13-week shortage of obstetricians

Pioneer Park playground opens for fun and play

The $160,000 playground is wheelchair accessible and funded partly through grants

After 30 years, Agassiz’s Miss Marge set to retire from Variety Play

From 1989 to today, Miss Marge has taken generations of kids through the district play program

RCMP believe Missing Hope teenager was headed to Chilliwack

Keely Reeze Loewen, 18, last in contact with a family member on June 13

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

Teens have privacy rights, doctor tells inquest into B.C. boy’s opioid death

Elliot Eurchuk died of a drug overdose. He was found unresponsive in his bedroom in April 2018

’When thunder roars, go indoors’: How to keep safe before lightning strikes

Each year, an estimated 10 deaths and as many as 164 injuries are lightning-related

B.C. rolls out online registration to speed up evacuee processing

Central Okanagan district tests province’s streamlined emergency management digital self-registration

VIDEO: After 73 years, siblings separated by adoption reunite in B.C

Donna Smith of Abbotsford and Clayton Myers of Williams Lake are glad they met each other

NHL Draft 2019: First-round mock selections

Hughes expected to go No. 1 overall; Canucks have 10th pick

New Westminster police seek video of fight between two teens

Police responded to a fight at Pier Park in the early hours of June 14

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

Most Read