WHITE ROCK - The pay for White Rock council members could go up following next year's municipal election.
As part of the city's governance and legislation committee, council voted four to two in favour of increases that would see the mayor's annual wage go up to $79,140 from $59,810 and councillor pay rise to $29,700 from $26,580.
The increases are calculated as an average wage derived from six similarly-sized municipalities in terms of population size. Those municipalities include the City of Pitt Meadows, the City of Port Coquitlam and the City of North Vancouver, to name a few.
Previously, council wages were based on a percentage of the average wage of White Rock residents. The mayor's salary was set at 90 per cent of the average, while councillors were at 40 per cent. Now their wages will simply be reflective of similarly-sized municipalities.
"It's never easy when one has to discuss that kind of thing," said Coun. Helen Fathers, chair of the committee. "So we discussed it and the amount and the increase and it did pass."
Fathers noted that the increase wouldn't take place until after the next election, but acknowledged that there would probably be criticism of wage increases no matter when they came into place.
"Basically, a third of the population hate us, a third don't even know who we are and a third support us, so it's never easy to discuss anything like that," she said. "Council is a big job and whatever the amount is, it's never an easy conversation."
The two members of council opposed to the raises were Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Coun. Grant Meyer.
"I voted against it because we knew what the pay was going into our term," said Meyer, noting that they also had yearly inflation adjustments included in their wages that often equalled around a two per cent increase. "What we're getting, I think it's fair and it's about on par with what other cities are getting and the inflation was already built in so you didn't have to worry about having a salary that doesn't increase in so many years.
"Even those small amounts, they were keeping up with inflation so I didn't see the need for it at all."
Council must now hold a final vote on the increases in order to approve them.
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