Strathcona County County’s Mayor and Council have done very well for themselves when it comes to remuneration over the last few years. The Strathcona County Taxpayers Association has finally obtained documentation showing exactly what the value of these raises has been.
On July 8, 2014 Strathcona County Council directed their administration to establish a task force that would review elected officials remuneration. The administration appointed volunteers to the task force. The volunteers were not paid and they were not payroll specialists. Why would Strathcona County’s Administration appoint a volunteer panel when there is typically little issue in paying consultants large fees for decisions that have far less impact?
The salary of the Mayor and Council was $117,092 and $65,123 before the task force recommendation. After the recommendations were approved in 2015 a raise the salaries were increased $125,261 for the Mayor and $69,677 for Councillors. It is important to note one third of these salaries are not subject to income tax. The value of the salaries, if fully taxed, would be much higher.
In addition to the salary increase the Mayor and Councillors received an increased vehicle allowance, a unique transition allowance, a new long term disability policy, and the promise of further remuneration reviews every two years. There was also a change to the formula that would allow for larger cost of living allowances each year even.
On January 15, 2015 the first cost of living calculation occurred. Less than six months after Strathcona County Council approved a raise for themselves they received another raise. On July 1, 2015 the new Mayor and Councillor salary was raised to $128,706 and $71,593 respectively. A year later, the new cost of living calculation increased the wages yet again. On July 1, 2016 the Mayor and Councillor salaries increased again to $129,247 and $71,894. On July 1, 2017 there will be another raise.
The Strathcona County Taxpayers Association said it was irresponsible to approve raises in 2015. We stand by this statement today. While many residents in Strathcona County are struggling financially the recommendations of a volunteer task force continue to be the gift that just keeps on giving.