(Advocate file photo).

Red Deer council to discuss boosting gross salaries to make up for loss of tax-free allowance

Net salaries would stay the same, said mayor

Red Deer city councillors will discuss on Monday whether they should boost their gross salaries to make up for a loss of one-third tax-free status.

This would keep their take-home pay the same.

But it would be a proposed 13 to 18 per cent increase to council’s overall compensation, which is paid for by taxpayers.

A third of many elected officials’ salaries have been tax free for many years, but this allowance in the Federal Tax Act is being taken away in January, requiring councillors and school trustees to pay tax on all of their earnings, which would result in a loss of income.

As a result, many municipal councils and school boards are considering adjusting their salaries to compensate for paying more taxes and keep their net, or take-home, pay the same.

Lacombe city and county councils already did it, and so did the Red Deer Public School Board.

Red Deer city administration is recommending “adjusting gross salaries to preserve current net pay.”

The proposal would raise Red Deer city council salaries to $68,618 from $60,466, and the mayor’s salary to $131,940 from $112,198.

Mayor Tara Veer has stated this doesn’t amount to a salary increase, since take-home amounts won’t change.

But some Red Deerians don’t see it that way.

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