Weyburn council seeks to offset loss of tax exemption

Weyburn city council is treating the cancellation of a tax exemption as a salary cut, and have served notice they want offset this loss to their remuneration by increasing it by 8.58 per cent.

The notice of motion was put forward at the Nov. 13 council meeting, and it will come up for a vote on Monday, Nov. 26.

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Coun. Dick Michel made the notice of motion, “to protect councils from this arbitrary pay cut imposed by the federal government.”

Under provincial legislation, council members are to be paid any remuneration or reimbursement set by council, with one-third of the remuneration to cover the general expenses of the councillor. This was to be treated as an allowance and was not considered a taxable income.

Measures in the 2017 federal budget will remove this tax exemption as of Jan. 1, 2019, which for city council will amount to a reduction of about 8.58 per cent as this allowance will become taxable on that date.

The current level of pay to the mayor is $2,027 per pay period or $52,702 per year, and for councillors is $731.98 per pay period or $19,031 a year.

In addition, Weyburn councillors receive a per diem of $133.77 per day, including travel days, when attending meetings outside of Weyburn, in addition to the normal remuneration for councillors.

The policy for city council states that their remuneration will be increased each Jan. 1 according to the Consumer Price Index each year.

The proposed one-time increase to offset to loss of the tax exemption for the mayor will be an increase of $173.92 per pay period or $4,521 a year, bringing his yearly salary to $57,224; and for councillors, an increase of $62.80 per pay period or $1,632.90 per year. For the six councillors, this will be a total budget increase of $9,797.41.