Carleton Place council votes itself a raise

Carleton Place town hall.
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Posted on: June 21, 2018

Brian Turner

Carleton Place council held 3 of its committee meetings on Tuesday June 19th and started off the evening with the Corporate Review Committee (finance).  Treasurer Trisa McConkey made several presentations related to town wages and the impact of Ontario Bill 148 which raised the minimum wage to $14/hr in January of this year.  As per normal practice, the treasurer reviewed all part-time and full-time compensations earlier this spring and took the opportunity to bring job descriptions, pay rate and performance-increase models up to date.  The town had budgeted for the minimum wage increase for the current fiscal year but certain scales had to be adjusted in keeping with their equity approach.  The total impact of the modest changes to each job description total $42K over the entire municipal staff with the daycare and library departments experiencing the largest hits.    McConkey noted that both of those groups had room in operational surpluses and reserves to accommodate the increases leaving only $5K to be absorbed into the town’s overall budget.

Another higher level government edict also brought a request for consideration to change councilors’ pay (including the mayor and deputy-mayor).  Last year the federal government made changes to income taxes with their bill C44 which received Royal Ascent on June 22, 2017.  As a result ‘non-accountable allowances’ paid to elected officers were removed from their tax-exempt status and are now to be included in earnings for income tax purposes.  Currently one third of each councilor’s remuneration is considered such an expense allowance.  McConkey calculated that these federal changes would reduce net income by $2,618 for the mayor (whose pay has been effectively suspended by council), $1842 for the deputy-mayor, and $1376 for councilors.  She provided two options for the committee; let each member absorb the tax increase or increase their pay to eliminate any impact on income filings.  Without any discussion the committee voted for the increase to be ratified at the next full council meeting.  The total impact to the town’s budget will be $12,250 according to the treasurer.