Bylaw stalled
Council asks: Do we deserve a raise?

by Ian Elliot
Northern News Services

INUVIK (Apr 24/98) - Do town councillors deserve a raise? You be the judge.

Council has stalled passing a bylaw that would see average council salaries rise between $2,775 and $3,800 per year per councillor starting when the new council is elected two years from now.

The bylaw would raise the amount of money councillors are paid for attending council, committee and special meetings, as well as giving each member a maximum of $900 for being a member of boards which they now sit on for free, such as the library and recreation and parks committees.

Admitting that it would probably raise taxes, councillors considered the motion when it was put forward on Monday and then put it aside to await feedback from the public.

"Let's wait until it hits the press and then wait to see what people say about it," said Councillor Vince Sharpe at Monday's committee meeting.

Currently, councillors are paid $100 for each regular meeting of council they attend, usually 21 each year as they are held every second week with a summer break. They get $50 for each committee meeting and special meeting they attend, and an allowance for meals and lodging when they travel on town business. The deputy mayor receives $150 and $50, respectively. The bylaw would raise that salary to $200 for regular meetings, $100 for committee meetings and $200 for special meetings.

If a council member does not attend a meeting, he or she does not get paid and councillors said the intent of the bylaw was to increase the amount of productive work done.

The mayor is paid a lump sum which is tied to the salary of the town clerk, but the bylaw proposes his housing and travel allowance be raised $3,800 a year.

In addition, councillors could have their salaries applied directly to their property tax bills rather than being paid in cash.

If every councillor attended every meeting under the new rates, it would raise the amount that they are paid to just over $26,500.

The bylaw is officially under review as councillors await public reaction, but Mayor George Roach noted that it is an issue in many communities.

"This is not just an Inuvik issue, it's one coming up across the entire Western Arctic."

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