New town council set for pay raise

Town of Stettler members of council will get a raise in pay — for those coming on council in the fall.

Town of Stettler members of council will get a raise in pay — for those coming on council in the fall.

At its regular meeting last week, town council increased the annual rates for the mayor to $30,000 from $20,000, while councillors will get $15,000 from $13,333.

“Even these new rates are lower than (those of) comparable size municipalities in 2012, as noted by a study of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association,” said the town’s chief administrative officer, Rob Stoutenberg.

Back in 2011, the pay for a mayor in a town with a population of Stettler was paid $35,000, while a councillor received $22,000, he noted.

One town councillor opposed the rate increase.

“The mayor should get twice as much as a councillor,” said Coun. Al Campbell, who wanted the rate for councillor to remain at the status quo.

“I understand we are lower than everyone else.”

Others agreed that the rates be adjusted for the new council.

“To get quality people on council, I don’t think we can undervalue that,” said Coun. Leona Thorogood, who announced in February that she won’t seek re-election and will complete nine years on council.

She added that money shouldn’t be a key incentive to serve on council.

“If you’re here for the money, you’re in for the wrong reason,” Thorogood said.

Council agreed that pay be reviewed the summer leading up to the regular elections, now held every four years.

“If we don’t raise the pay now, the new council will have to and that would not look good,” Thorogood said.

Although absent from last week’s meeting, the mayor agreed when the issue was discussed at a meeting the previous month.

“I think it’s the right thing to do, to set the rates before the election,” Mayor Dick Richards said.

“We hope it is passion and not compensation that keeps you here,” he told council.

Back in fall 2010, the annual pay for mayor increased to $20,000 from $15,315 set in January 2008, while councillors rose to $13,333 from $11,486.

Coun. Darcy Bachman also suggested that council receive increases for cost of living allowance in line with office staff, and council agreed.

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