The town of Deer Lake won't be increasing remuneration, despite the tax hit municipal politicians will receive.
A change in federal tax laws scheduled to take effect in January will mean councillors will have their net remuneration reduced as the ability to allocate one third of what’s received as tax free is removed.
Earlier this week Corner Brook’s council voted to increase the remuneration its members receive to offset what they will lose in taxes.
The issue is one that municipal councils all over the province are faced with addressing.
Deer Lake Mayor Dean Ball said Friday that his council has decided to take it on the chin and won’t be increasing its remuneration.
“We’re going to let it go," Ball said. "We’re not going to take a pay increase. We’re just going to take the loss.”
He is disappointed with the situation the change will put councillors in.
“For the work, for the hours they put in, especially Deer Lake, we don’t take huge money. It’s sad to see the government not recognize municipal politicians for that,” he said. "… For us, we're not going to put the added burden onto the taxpayers of Deer Lake.”
As the Town of Stephenville considers its 2019 budget, Coun. Mike Tobin said remuneration is likely to be one of the items it will be looking at.
Stephenville’s remuneration was decreased in 2005 as part of its 2006 budget.
The town was hit by massive flooding in September 2005 and Abitibi announced it was closing the town’s paper mill in December.
"We haven’t gone up or down, or done anything else since then," Tobin said.
As for what’s going to happen come January, Tobin said if council stays the course he will take a decrease in his remuneration.
“I could say I’m not taking an increase if council decides to increase the remuneration. But that amount of money is still coming out of the treasury.”
Tobin said he hasn’t made a determination on how he would vote just yet.
“I want to hear the full discussion and to assess our financial situation.”
Looking at remuneration as part of the budget is also something some east coast municipalities are doing.
Mount Pearl Mayor Dave Aker said the changing tax law is a concern for his council and it could either maintain the status quo orto implement an increase to offset the impact of the change.
He said what council will do is under consideration.
“It’s very hard to attract candidates to run in municipal elections and we feel net pay, as much as anything, is a big part of some people’s thought process in terms of spending their time on council and spending more time away from their family.”
Mount Pearl will table its budget on Dec. 18 and any decision that may be forthcoming on remuneration would also be tabled that night.
In response to an inquiry to the Town of Conception Bay South, Mayor Terry French said in an emailed statement that the town’s budget discussions are underway and that remuneration is one of the details that council is working out. The town is to bring down its 2019 budget on Dec. 10.
Deer Lake — Population 5,249 (2016)
Mayor — $8,720
Deputy mayor — $8,062
Councillor — $7,406
Corner Brook — Population 19,806 (2016)
Mayor — $34,500
Deputy mayor — $24,000
Councillor — $22,500
Effective January 2019
Mayor — $39,300
Deputy mayor — $27,120
Councillor — $25,380
Stephenville — Population 6,623 (2016)
Mayor — $20,781
Deputy Mayor — $14,840
Councillor — $11,875
Mount Pearl — Population 22,957 (2016)
Mayor — $47,829
Deputy Mayor — $33,883
Councillor — $31,883
Conception Bay South — Population 26,199 (2016)
Mayor — 40,608
Deputy — 28,538
Councillor — 26,806
Paradise — Population 21,389 (2016)
Mayor — $45,252
Councillor — $33,736