Editors Note: In a video that was posted early Tuesday morning, but since removed, it stated there were two councillors who voted against the salary increase. However, there were three – Jason Mancinelli, Andrew Stevens and John Findura who all voted against the increase.
Call it the ‘raise that isn’t’.
The salaries for mayor and council are rising, but at the end of the day, they’re taking home the same amount.
Starting in January, elected officials will no longer receive a one-third tax exemption. Without the salary increase, the mayor would take a $16,000 yearly pay cut, and councillors would lose roughly $3,600.
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The salary increase will see the mayor making $144,832.66 — 99.78 per cent of a Saskatchewan cabinet minister’s salary. Councillors will make $44,507.07.
Councillors Jason Mancinelli, Andrew Stevens and John Findura voted against the measure, nothing there aren’t many other professions that have the option to raise their salary when tax breaks change.
“I had a long and hard discussion with the residents of Ward 5,” Findura said. “They should not be paying my tax. I should be able to pay my tax. There are a lot of seniors, fixed income, single parents… It’s difficult.”
Their colleague, Mike O’Donnell, says a competitive salary is critical to attract a range of qualified individuals to serve on council.
The city will need to find an additional $107,693 in the budget to cover the expense.
In another vote, administration was instructed to return with a plan for a salary review commission to address council pay structure.
Mayor Michael Fougere spoke out against the idea.
“We have budget coming up this year. This is a particularly difficult budget- 4.7% (tax increase) recommended and I want to see that go down,” Fougere told reporters. “I think the public wants us to be focused on what they want us to do and not what we want to do in terms of a salary. I just don’t support it.”
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Other Councillors called the review long overdue. Council’s pay formula hasn’t changed since 2002.
Many noted the sharp discrepancies between salaries in Saskatoon and Regina, and discussed the hours that go into the part time job.
In 2015, Saskatoon’s mayor made $121,436.10. Councillors were paid $54,646.25.
“There’s a fairness aspect to this,” Councillor Bob Hawkins said. “I would wager, on an hour by hour basis, city councillors are the most poorly paid employees of the city of Regina.”
But, as O’ Donnell and Findura pointed out, any commission’s recommendations wouldn’t come into effect until after the next election.