Blackfalds council may get pay raise

Citizens committee reviewing council pay found Blackfalds lagged behind

Blackfalds may be one of the fastest growing communities in Canada but mayor and council pay was not keeping up, according to a salary review.

A comparison of 14 communities found Blackfalds council ranked second last in terms of pay and compensation on a per capita basis. Lacombe was last.

An arm’s length citizens remuneration committee is recommending Mayor Melodie Stol’s pay be boosted by 27 per cent to $36,518 from $28,827.

Councillors would see their pay increase by 26 per cent to $24,604 from $16,025.

Like many municipalities, Blackfalds reviews renumeration in the year an election is held. Any changes do not kick in until after the October municipal elections. Council will vote on the issue on Tuesday.

The increases would still leave Blackfalds mayor and councillor salaries below the middle of the pack.

“The committee were all in agreement that current compensation levels were far too low and are not adequate considering the roles, responsibilities and functions of the mayor and councillors …” says the committee’s report.

Council aims to provide competitive salaries to town employees to attract and retain quality workers, notes the committee.

“The committee believes this same philosophy should apply to the mayor and council …”

Town chief administrative officer Myron Thompson said the goal was to base pay on a per capita rate close to the median of the 14 communities.

The proposed changes have already been reviewed by a standing committee that includes all members of council.

“It was well supported,” he said. “One council member wanted to have administration provide what the financial implications would be if we spread the increase over a four-year period.”

Also recommended was making a benefits plan available to council. If approved, the mayor would receive $5,522 worth of benefits compared with $320 now. Councillors would be eligible for $4,633 compared with $168.

Both mayor and councillors can opt out of the benefit package if they are covered elsewhere.

The committee also looked at when the community was big enough to warrant a full-time mayor. Based on a review of other municipalities, the committee saw a population threshold of 17,000 as a time to consider that.

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