Councillors keeping eyes on expenses

Red Deer city councillors were a frugal bunch leading up to the municipal election last fall.

Red Deer city councillors were a frugal bunch leading up to the municipal election last fall.

The average city councillor racked up $2,260 in expenses over 10 months in 2013, less than half the average amount claimed in all of 2012.

The eight councillors were allotted a pro-rated amount of $8,580 each, based on the 10 months up to the Oct. 21 municipal election, on top of an annual salary of $53,163.

Council members claim costs for items such as office supplies, conference registration, training and business travel.

In 2012, the councillors spent roughly $5,000 each over 12 months.

Last year, the eight councillors spent a total of $18,109.80, or 26.38 per cent of the $68,640 collective allotment.

Coun. Buck Buchanan was the top spender, claiming $4,814.31 or 56.11 per cent of his budget. In 2012, he was at the bottom of the list, claiming only $1,860, or 18 per cent of his budget for the entire year.

In 2013, Buchanan spent $930 on seminar and conference registration, $2,850.06 on business travel, $756 on mileage and $278.25 on office supplies and miscellaneous items.

Buchanan said the expenses were related to attending the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association conference in Calgary, a sustainability conference in Windsor, Ont., and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Vancouver.

Former councillor Chris Stephan claimed the least expenses, $152.45 in 2013. He spent $35 on seminar and conference registration and $117.45 on office supplies.

Former mayor Morris Flewwelling spent $15,167 on expenses out of his $21,284 available budget, on top of his $89,285 annual salary. The mayor’s office spent $4,725 more than was allotted in the $212,552 public relations budget. The numbers were skewed because there were more events in the first 10 months of the year and the number would have likely evened out by year’s end.

Council total expenses from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2013:

l Coun. Buck Buchanan: $4,814

l Coun. Dianne Wyntjes: $4,604

l Coun. Cindy Jefferies: $2,646

l Coun. Frank Wong: $2,604

l Coun. Lynne Mulder: $2,407

l Coun. Paul Harris: $652

l Coun. Tara Veer: $227

l Coun. Chris Stephan: $152

l Mayor Morris Flewwelling: $15,167 out of $21,284 available (expenses) and $211,656 out of $217, 277 available (public relations funding set aside to promote Red Deer as a whole).

Council total expenses Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013:

l Coun. Dianne Wyntjes: $3,478

l Coun. Tanya Handley: $3,080

l Coun. Paul Harris: $2,588

l Coun. Lawrence Lee: $2,376

l Coun. Ken Johnston: $2,327

l Coun. Lynne Mulder: $2,125

l Coun. Buck Buchanan: $1,776

l Coun. Frank Wong: $1,581

l Mayor Tara Veer: $4,173 out of available $10,373 (expenses) and $5,526 out of available $14,510 (public relations).

Last spring, council adopted a new policy related to council salaries.

The mayor’s salary for 2014 is $99,934; that amount is tied to population.

Councillor’s salaries for 2014 are $54,964 or 55 per cent of the mayor’s salary.

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