Saanich council revises municipalities used to determine salaries

Coquitlam will not be included in list of comparable municipalities to determine mayor and council pay

Saanich officially removed Coquitlam from the group of municipalities Saanich bases its mayor and council wages on.

On a night that only four councillors and the mayor were in attendance on Monday, the group officially removed high-paying Coquitlam from the nine comparably sized B.C. municipalities that Saanich bases its council and mayor wages on.

“[Saanich] council felt Coquitlam was a bit of an aberration, it’s such a higher rate they wanted to remove it as it was pushing the numbers up,” said Saanich interim CAO Andy Laidlaw.

In fact, 2016 will be the third straight year Saanich has voted not to include Coquitlam’s numbers when calculating mayor and council remuneration.

The 2016 year’s pay rate for mayor and council will be decided during budget time, early in the new year, which is often little change, or a 1.5 to two per cent increase.

Had Saanich kept Coquitlam in the mix, the Saanich mayor would have earned $5,855 more than his wage of $95,702 in 2015, and councillors $3,104 more than their individual salary of $37,625.

Based on 2015 wages, Coquitlam councillors are drawing a wage of $57,562, by far the highest amongst the group of nine cities that Saanich had compared itself to starting in 2000. Wages for councillors in the remaining eight municipalities Saanich will use are Abbotsford $38,293, Delta $49,682, Kamloops $29,204, Kelowna $32,055, Langley $45,979, Nanaimo $35,447, North Vancouver $40,523, and Victoria $37,815. The Coquitlam mayor is paid $132,257, roughly $20,000 more than the next closest mayors, Delta and Langley, at $113,832 and $112,602, respectively.

The Saanich council remuneration policy has now been revised five times.