October 10, 2018 8:32 pm
Updated: October 15, 2018 10:24 am

How much does your mayor make? Okanagan council salaries all over the map

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Dozens of political hopefuls are currently campaigning to be a mayor or councillor across the Okanagan.

In Kelowna alone, more than 20 people have put their names forward as council contenders with another four candidates vying for the mayor’s chair.

How much will they make should they win? That varies depending on the Okanagan community in which they’re elected.

READ MORE: B.C. municipal election digest Oct. 4: This week’s top stories

Global News surveyed 12 Okanagan communities to find out how much their mayor and council will make as a base salary in 2018.

Unsurprisingly, Kelowna, the valley’s largest community, had the highest pay rates with the mayor taking home $95,695.22 in 2018 and councilors paid $33,493.33.

Meanwhile, Enderby, the smallest community surveyed, has the lowest base salary in 2018 with the mayor taking home $17,357 and councillors being paid $9,189.

It seems logical that larger communities would pay their council more as bigger cities mean more constituents as well as more issues, events and challenges to navigate.

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: Why you need to vote on Oct. 20

So to level the playing field, Global News looked at how much councillors and mayors are paid in their communities per capita.

The mayor of Peachland is paid the most per resident at $7.11, while the mayor of Kelowna is paid just $0.75 per resident for 2018.

Current Kelowna Coun. Maxine DeHart was surprised to hear Kelowna’s per capita pay rate was lower than many other Okanagan communities.

“I think that’s good value for the tax payer,” DeHart said.

DeHart said that being a councillor in Kelowna is considered a part-time job and that many councillors have full-time positions in addition to their council duties.

Meanwhile, Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin said she consistently votes against pay raises for council.

“I really feel that even though I personally work very very hard, and I probably get less than minimum wage per hour. I just don’t think it is fair to the tax payer at a time when we really need to be fiscally responsible,” she said.

Fortin defended Peachland’s current mayoral salary of $36,111.

“It is still not extremely high. I’m not living high on the hog that’s for sure… it’s a council decision from a committee referral,” she said.

When it comes to councillors, those in Kelowna make the least per resident at just $0.26. Meanwhile, councillors in Osoyoos make the most at $3.48 per resident.


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Osoyoos’ mayor said it’s not fair to compare per capita council salaries because the number of councillors varies. For example, Osoyoos only has four councillors while Peachland has six.

“Councillors do a lot of different things. It really doesn’t matter if you are in a community of 2,000 or a community of 10,000 you probably have about the same workload so it does not bother me at all that we are slightly higher in terms of per capita,” said Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff.

“We are really on duty all the time. I get called, and I know other councillors do at any time. You can’t go to the grocery store without running into somebody who might have an issue, who might want to talk.”

McKortoff also said her community’s population is larger than the province’s 2017 population estimate for Osoyoos of 4,866. A larger population would mean the per capita cost was lower.

A staff member at the Town of Osoyoos declined comment on the issue and said it would be inappropriate for town “administration to make any assessment or comments relating to council remuneration” because staff don’t set council wages.

Methodology

Mayor and council pay information was provided by the individual municipalities.

Population data came from provincial 2017 population estimates.

As some council pay rates shift in the middle of the year, municipalities were asked to supply mayor and council annual base salaries as of October 21, 2018 (the day following the civic election).

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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