Colwood council to consider report recommending mayor, councillor wages nearly double

Colwood council to consider report recommending mayor, councillor wages nearly double
City of Colwood/Facebook

Colwood council will receive a report recommending wages for mayor and council almost double, with options for when the new compensation begins.

A committee to discuss remuneration changes for the council decided to base mayor and council salaries on the number of residents, and compare compensation in similar municipalities.

The task force was made up of citizens of Colwood who applied to be part of the committee. The city advertised the committee was being put together, and received five applications. One person dropped out due to unforeseen circumstances, so four people made up the committee.

The current salary for the mayor is $32,992.14 and councillors is $16,496.07. Based on the current population from BC Stats, that puts the salary at $1.74 per resident for the mayor.

The report recommends raising that stipend to $3.22, which would put the mayor’s salary at $61,054.42 and councillors at $30,527.21. Salaries for the councillors are currently set to be 50 per cent of what the mayor’s salary is, and the report recommends keeping that practice.

Mike Reilly, chair of the committee and former president of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce, says one consideration in raising the council salary was whether the current level of compensation may deter people from running for council.

“There’s a fair amount of time that it is taken from people’s daily lives in order to do this, so compensation is an expectation,” Reilly told CHEK News in an interview. “Much of our discussion was around, do we want to have compensation that is fair in order to attract more candidates potentially to run for council? Does the lower compensation exclude people that might normally think about this?”

“And I think what we really came down to was that we didn’t want the low compensation to be a barrier for good candidates to come forward and run for mayor or council.”

If implemented, the salaries would be adjusted annually using the current population data from BC Stats with the mayor receiving $3.22 per resident, and the councillors receiving half of what the mayor receives.

In considering increasing the salary, the committee looked at mayor salaries in seven other CRD municipalities, and four B.C. municipalities of similar size to Colwood.

The mayor salaries in other municipalities with the left column being the current population size, middle being the salary, and the right being the salary per resident. (City of Colwood/report)

“We found that Colwood was well below [provincial average],” Reilly said. “Then the process was…is there a reason why Colwood shouldn’t be the average? And there was no determining factor to say that Colwood shouldn’t be at least average because of one item or another.”

Reilly said once it was determined that Colwood’s salary should at least be average, the next decision was whether to make the change in one lump change after the election, or phased in.

The report recommends implementing the change in one go, but provides council the option to phase it in over one term, or over two terms.

It also noted in 2021 mayor and councillors attended 72 internal meetings as part of their duties.

Additional time commitments the report notes include:

  • Attending external boards, committees Capital Regional District Committees, and other meetings.
  • Attending city events, socials, celebrations, contests, fundraisers, local schools, and organizations including evenings and weekends
  • Attending and participating in conferences, meetings, professional development sessions, and workshops
  • Continuously meeting with residents and group organizations
  • Attending and providing support for local organizations, clubs, social support agencies and not for profit groups on their own behalf and for the betterment of the city

The salary increase will be considered in Monday’s committee of the whole meeting. If approved it then has to be voted on at a council meeting.

READ MORE: Report recommends Sooke council members give themselves a pay raise

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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