The last time councillors’ remuneration was changed was six years ago and Mayor Larry Henkelman asked the remuneration committee to consider the wording in the town’s policy. “Sometimes the way it’s written is not very clear.”
“You could go to 10 or 15 different parades…Right now there’s no remuneration,” added Henkelman.
For example, when representing the Town of Ponoka in a parade in or outside of Ponoka, councillors do not get paid. But a clause trying to clarify the eligibility of a claim state: was a councillor appointed to attend, were minutes taken and did they vote, did they leave work to attend and if they were not elected would they attend the function.
These questions will be looked at and council wants to have this ready for the next council, to be elected in October, added Henkelman.
Events such as the Victim Services Gala may not fall under the policy but he feels councillors have an obligation to attend. “If you don’t show up people don’t think you’re interested.”
The mayor receives $804.27 bi-weekly and councillors receive $452.27 bi-weekly; this honorarium covers two regular meetings a month, meetings with residents and staying up to date on current municipal issues.
Councillors do receive an honorarium for attending meetings, conventions and seminars when representing the town and will be reimbursed for their travel. For special meetings such as the business hours bylaw public meeting councillors are paid $80 and the mayor is paid $90, or $30 per hour, whichever is greater for both. Other committee meetings based on two hours will pay those councillors who attend, $60 per meeting.
Henkelman’s other concern was that councillors could attend a two-hour function but will not get paid for the time. They sometimes leave paying commitments to attend an event related to council, he said.
The committee will look at these questions and will seek feedback from other municipalities to compare remuneration rates.