Town council tabled a proposed council remuneration policy after a request to discuss it further.
The decision was made during the Tuesday, Oct. 27 regular meeting, where Joe Henderson, chairperson of the remuneration committee, provided some explanation of the proposal.
One concern voiced by Coun. Loanna Gulka related to committee of the whole meetings, which is categorized as a regular meeting. She referred to a clause in the proposed policy that states if a councillor is absent for more than three regular council meetings in a calendar year, there will be a deduction of $200 for every meeting missed after that from a councillor’s honorarium.
Gulka suggested committee of the whole meetings were not necessarily mandatory but that changes with this policy.
Among some of the proposed amendments to the current remuneration policy were to classify meetings to ensure clear understanding of where the honorarium and per diem payments sit. Travel time and parade claims as well as other suggestions to remove alcohol purchases as an expense option and how committee of the whole meetings are also classified.
One of the areas Henderson recommended be changed were if a meeting is not part of the regular appointments or council meetings, then council must vote on the decision for whether a councillor should be paid for that time. He added it is difficult for an administration to make those decisions and having a council make those decisions could increase the transparency of council.
Adding a council approved decision for questions related to extra time would ensure council’s remuneration budget does not get overspent. “At the end of the day you have to decide what’s appropriate for you,” said Henderson.
Per diem rates, the same as the previous policy, are recommended at $35 per hour for other meetings or events listed on the organizational meeting. For full day meetings, conventions or seminars the per diem is $260 per day. Four hours or a half day events, or parades, will pay $130 per half day. Claims made are to be for the actual meeting and will not include travel time.
Any per diems and expenses out of province must be approved by council.
External committees such as the Rimoka Housing Foundation or North Red Deer River Water Services Commission are paid meetings for council members, which means they are not part of the regular honorarium.
Honorariums for council are recommended to be increased to $26,686, up from $25,500 for the mayor per annum and $15,070, up from $14,400 for councillors yearly. Rates are meant to increase annually based on the consumer price index for Alberta from Statistics Canada.
Council will revisit the policy during a committee of the whole meeting.
Downtown Heritage Revitalization Committee
Council unanimously approved third reading of the Heritage and Downtown Revitalization Committee bylaw.
One addition to the bylaw was for the committee to align its terms of reference with the town’s land-use bylaw and municipal development plan.
Economic Development Board (EDB) appointments
Council approved the reappointment of Ashley Plamondon to the EDB for a three year term. Plamondon already served one year on the EDB and expressed an interest in continuing with the board.
Council approved Carlen Cire to the EDB for a one year term from Nov. 1 to Oct. 31, 2016.
Allocation of funds for recreation master plan
Council approved the reallocation of $80,000 to pay for the Recreation, Culture and Master Plan and Facility Development Study.
The expense and contract was already approved but to ensure accounting procedures are followed, the money already saved for the project had to be reallocated from the building development reserve.