Whitehorse Daily Star

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Mayor Dan Curtis and Valerie Braga

Council remuneration may rise, but take-home pay would remain the same

On paper, what looks like a pay hike in the thousands of dollars would not amount to any big changes in the amount the city’s next council takes home.

By Stephanie Waddell on September 6, 2017

On paper, what looks like a pay hike in the thousands of dollars would not amount to any big changes in the amount the city’s next council takes home.

That’s the word from Valerie Braga, the city’s chief financial officer.

At Tuesday evening’s council meeting, Braga brought forward a recommendation for pay for the next council to be elected in October 2018.

It’s recommended that the annual pay rise from the current $20,496 to $24,315 for councillors and from $87,942 to $100,100 for the mayor.

While it appears to be a massive wage hike, Braga emphasized that the amount of take-home pay members receive would remain essentially the same (up to an additional $5 at most).

That’s because a change in federal legislation will see more pay to municipal councils across the country taxed.

“In 2017, the Government of Canada announced changes to Canada Revenue Agency rules for elected officials that will impact income tax payable by elected municipal officials in the future,” Braga explained.

“Effective in 2019, elected municipal officials will no longer be able to claim the first third of their remuneration as expenses – meaning the full rates of remuneration will be treated as taxable income.

“Unless gross rates of remuneration for elected officials are adjusted, net pay will be significantly less as of 2019.”

The higher salaries, Braga said following questioning by Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu, would essentially be an adjusted amount to ensure the take-home pay to council members would not drop due to the changes in income tax.

As Mayor Dan Curtis emphasized in speaking to reporters after the meeting, the city wants to ensure the pay is not so prohibitive that the average person doesn’t want to be on council.

The federal change is impacting municipalities throughout the country, he noted.

“We didn’t take it lightly,” he said.

During discussions at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meetings in Ottawa, he noted, it was learned most communities are moving forward with such adjustments in pay for council members.

The mayor acknowledged that on paper, looking at just the numbers will likely be “a bit of a shock” for many who may not realize the impact of the tax change.

Traditionally, a current council sets the remuneration rate for the next council in the year leading up to the next election.

Looking ahead to the October 2018 election, Curtis confirmed he will seek a third term as mayor, noting he’s never had a job he’s enjoyed so much.

Council will vote on whether to move forward with the changes to the council remuneration bylaw next week. Coun. Dan Boyd was absent from Monday’s meeting

Comments (10)

Up 0 Down 0

mandeep sidhu on Sep 13, 2017 at 12:32 am

Could we get better options for mayor.
I'm sick of saying "I told you so!"

Not a single... single issue from the two terms has been addressed:
Affordable housing, buses, tipping fees, McIntyre creek, crosswalks, infrastructure, Sima, Canada Games Centre net loss, transparency...

Up 2 Down 0

Josey Wales on Sep 12, 2017 at 8:21 am

Anyone else notice how "these folks" that are entrenched in the machine of government, telling us how it will be...
Seem to have chin collections?
I myself only have one, but I act/eat within my means.
Must be an odd coincidence that those who clearly have, collect chins.
Whilst the "others" use belts?
No personal attack as no mention of anyone, just an observation of facts.
Facts are still welcome in a public forum, or was a by-law or hate legislation passed forbidding such?

Up 18 Down 2

Rick of the Universe on Sep 8, 2017 at 2:47 pm

"Just as long as I've got mine" - new City Hall motto ?

Up 29 Down 9

NeilAlexGeddy on Sep 7, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Ask yourself one simple question.
Would Mayor and Council pad the salaries of CIty of Whitehorse employees who are negatively affected by Canada Revenue Agency policies?
I think Dan Curtis' justification is way off base, and/or his moral compass needs realignment.

Up 20 Down 6

Bob Ablanalp on Sep 7, 2017 at 9:39 am

"Braga brought forward a recommendation for pay for the NEXT COUNCIL to be elected in October 2018."

YEP - this HAS to be an issue in the upcoming election.
Yukon politicians are far too generous with themselves (just check out the severance packages that the defeated and not-running-again MLAs got last year).

Up 22 Down 11

Josey Wales on Sep 6, 2017 at 10:20 pm

Imagine...my shock, nobility awarded itself a raise?
King Dan and his DJ like spinning skills, reveals the disconnect from reality
experienced chronic like.
...the others? If we lived in a merit based place...you and your king would be paying us.
Good thing this banana republic has no external checks and balances eh?
Helps ensure the entitlement and all the epic incompetence can continue and reward the fools pissing off the very citizens that live and fund this circus.
Arrogant, entitled, TONE DEAF, uber polarizing, unaccountable, often incompetent....brain dead are terms that come to mind with our civic trough feeders, many of their managers and other ideologs that leech.
Deserving of any type of a raise? For f**king what?

Up 17 Down 8

TK on Sep 6, 2017 at 5:43 pm

The problem seems to be that CRA rules have changed and will significantly impact the salary of the councillors. They were elected by the voters to listen to the community, take calls from residents, address complaints and issues. They sit through evening meetings and presentations, and attempting to make changes and implement developments that make sense to most of the residents.
The alternative - that the mayor and councillors just agree to a significant PAY CUT for their community work - doesn't sound very realistic. Come the next election, fewer people will be wanting to run and will likely be motivated more by the desire for power.
There's nothing wrong with employees or officials wanting a so-called 'increase' to retain the same remuneration they signed on for. If you have a problem with it, feel free to take up the CRA changes with Justin Trudeau the next time he swings through.

Up 14 Down 10

Nile on Sep 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm

So is the Liberal Mayor's new pay to be just under the new tax bracket included in Trudeau's new tax changes? Almost as if liberal insiders got a heads up. They know Curtis doesn't have a chance of becoming Mayor again so they are trying to build up Curteanu as the new Liberal option.

Up 32 Down 20

June Jackson on Sep 6, 2017 at 3:47 pm

uh huh..I want to ask my boss for a pay raise so I can keep taking home the same money and not have to pay taxes.. yup..such a deal.. borders on blue collar thievery ..does this council know that they are taking money from their friends and neighbours? Or..maybe they don't have any friends..ah well..elections ARE coming up again.

Up 11 Down 6

June Jackson on Sep 6, 2017 at 3:47 pm

uh huh..I want to ask my boss for a pay raise so I can keep taking home the same money and not have to pay taxes.. yup..such a deal.. borders on blue collar thievery ..does this council know that they are taking money from their friends and neighbours? or..maybe they don't have any friends..ah well..elections ARE coming up again.

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