January 27, 2015 8:31 pm
Updated: January 27, 2015 10:07 pm

Edmonton city councillors up for 3.8% salary boost

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WATCH ABOVE: City council members have accepted a 3.8 per cent salary increase for 2015. Jessica Kent is at City Hall with the details.

EDMONTON – Edmonton city council members are looking at a salary increase of 3.8 per cent for 2015, which is determined by an independent committee and set formula.

“This is a cost of living adjustment that is set automatically and it’s per recommendations from an independent committee, so council doesn’t touch this,” explained Mayor Don Iveson.

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“This is something that happens automatically. I recognize that the number seems large this year, but it’s based on last year’s economic activity in Alberta. I can guarantee you that number is going to be lower – if it isn’t zero – next year based on what the next year of economic activity is going to look like.”

The city’s website explains the salary change is calculated using the percentage change in the 12-month average of the Alberta Weekly Earnings values from September of the previous year against the same value for the year prior, as reported by Statistics Canada.

For 2015, councillors will see an increase of 3.81 per cent.

“Unlike other levels of government, we don’t vote on our own pay raises,” said Councillor Andrew Knack.

“So I feel comfortable based off what the recommendations have been made.”

Recently, some city’s unionized workers accepted a 2.25 per cent pay increase for 2015.

READ MORE: City of Edmonton reaches deal with unions

“I think over the last number of years, the union side has had a higher increase than the City of Edmonton councillors specifically,” said Knack.

Councillor Dave Loken said one union president has spoken out, but other unions seem to be content with the deal.

“I’ve heard from the other presidents of the unions and they’re content with what they’ve received.”

“If you look at the average over several years of what public sector compensation has been, what the average weekly earnings in Alberta have been, and what our compensation has been,” said Iveson. “If you take it over several years, it averages out to the same thing. So, we’re in line with the market, we’re in line on the private side and on the public side.”

For 2015, city councillors are eligible to receive a salary of $99,994. However, since one-third of that is tax free, the fully taxable equivalent is a salary of $118,824.  The mayor is eligible for $176,145, which translates to a fully taxable equivalent of $213,272.

Iveson said it makes sense to have one-third tax exempt.

“For us to make it taxable would just ship a few hundred thousand dollars worth of taxes to the province and Ottawa at precisely the time we’re trying to convince those orders of government to invest in local government.

The mayor also supports the automatic, independent system to determine council’s pay.

“When this gets politicized, silly things happen,” said Iveson.

“The best course is to trust the independent citizen panel that set this automatic formula up, and every few years it gets reviewed. It was tweaked the last time around so I think that’s the best process to set our compensation… to have it set by an independent committee, and council I think, is best to just abide by that and not politicize it.”

The following is the salary that members of council are eligible to receive:

20112012 2013 
*Effective  

October 29, 2013

20142015
Mayor$150,748$158,813$163,928$163,928$169,681$176,145
Councillors$83,488$87,955$90,788$93,057$96,323$99,994

© 2015 Shaw Media

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