Town of Sylvan Lake approves pay hike for next council

Sylvan Lake’s next mayor will get a 30 per cent pay increase and councillors 24 per cent.

Sylvan Lake’s next mayor will get a 30 per cent pay increase and councillors 24 per cent.

Under base salary increases approved by council on Monday, the mayor’s base salary will increase to $48,830 from about $37,000 following the municipal elections in the fall 2017. Councillors will have a new base salary of $23,188.

The changes were recommended by the arm’s-length Council Remuneration Citizen Committee, which was given the job of reviewing council salaries earlier this year.

Significant increases were recommended after comparing salary scales in 11 similar-sized communities. Mayor Sean McIntyre’s compensation is significantly below the market average and ninth of 11 communities. Only the mayors of Beaumont and Strathmore made less in total compensation with the average being $63,458.

“Even though the increase to the mayor’s base salary may represent a high percentage to achieve the market average, it was noted the demands of the position are always increasing, as Sylvan Lake continues to grown and evolve at a rapid pace,” says minutes of a remuneration committee’s meeting.

Councillors took home less than all but four communities; Beaumont, Lacombe, Camrose and Strathmore. Total councillor compensation of $30,100 was below the average of $33,295.

Council also tweaked the policy covering per diems and compensation for attending meetings. Added was a section that compensates the mayor or deputy mayor for official appearances where they have been asked in writing to attend and are acting in a speaking capacity.

Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet said the policy makes it clear that the compensation is not meant for less formal events where the mayor or deputy mayor may be present but aren’t speaking officially.

Gaudet said previously the appearances were covered under the base salary. But a report says that council believed that the number of appearances the mayor is expected to make as the “face of the town” warranted more compensation.

Appearances under two hours will earn $53 in compensation, increasing to $125 for a time commitment over two hours. Number of appearances can’t average more than six per week.

Council members receive per diems for other town-related work, such as attending meetings and conferences, but other types of appearances weren’t included.

Unlike, the salary changes, the other remuneration policy changes will kick in next month.

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