District of Houston council is forming a task force

The District of Houston council is forming a task force to examine the remuneration for the mayor and council members.

Although a bylaw passed in 2010 called for an annual increase tied to the B.C. Consumer Price Index, council has routinely waived that increase every year since then.

That’s meant the mayoral remuneration of $15,783.07 and a councillor’s remuneration of $7,891.54 have remained fixed since 2010.

The remuneration levels do not include expenses such as travel and accommodation incurred by the mayor and council on District of Houston business.

In information presented to council for its consideration, Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck noted that the Consumer Price Index as of last November stood at 2.1 per cent.

The task force is to consist of between five and seven members of the community, said Pinchbeck of a motion passed by council at its March 6 meeting.

Council in January authorized the creation of the committee and its goals were defined at the March 6 meeting.

As part of its five-year plan for 2018-2022, council did set aside $15,000 for the committee’s work.

Administration also recommended the committee’s term should be no longer than four months.

The intent is that any recommendations be made effective by bylaw for the new council which will be elected this November.

Pincbbeck said the District will be advertising for task force members over the coming weeks.

A chair will be named when the task force members have been chosen.

And following the practice since 2010, the current council waived the allowable increase for 2018.

Council did waive the increase again, and has done so since at least 2010. The Taskforce will be reviewing and prividing recommendations remuneration for the next Councik term.

No Chair has been named, since no members have been appointed. We will be advertising for members over the coming weeks.

One-third of the mayor’s and council’s remuneration is to cover incidental expenses.

In addition to covering travel and accommodation expenses, council members when outside of the District on District business also receive a $75 per diem for up to half a day away or $150 per diem for up to a full day away and these payments are also to cover incidental expenses.

By way of comparison, the Village of Burns Lake mayor as of Jan. 1, 2017 receives an annual remuneration of $17,762 while a councillor receives $8,373. And like Houston, one-third of that is for incidental expenses. Village of Burns Lake council members, and the mayor, also receive a per diem when away of Village business.

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