Current Maple Ridge council composed of Craig Speirs, Gordy Robson, Kiersten Duncan, Nicole Read, Corisa Bell, Tyler Shymkiw and Bob Masse. (Contributed)

Current Maple Ridge council composed of Craig Speirs, Gordy Robson, Kiersten Duncan, Nicole Read, Corisa Bell, Tyler Shymkiw and Bob Masse. (Contributed)

Maple Ridge council considers pay hikes of more than 20 per cent

Would cover salary lost to new tax laws: Gill

Maple Ridge council will consider a raise of approximately 20 per cent for the mayor and council in response to changes in tax laws.

Council’s audit and finance committee is recommending the mayor’s salary increase to $114,250, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

The pay for councillors would increase to $45,700.

The base salary for a councillor would be set at 40 per cent of the base salary for the mayor.

The cost to the city would be a budget adjustment of $55,000 in 2019.

A change in the Income Tax Act comes into effect on Jan. 1, eliminating a provision that allows elected officials to have one-third of their income tax exempt. So members of council would take less after-tax income home.

“The federal government is taking money away,” noted Coun. Gordy Robson. “It’s unfortunate the federal government has done this – it’s another form of downloading.”

“The next council, whoever that is, shouldn’t take a pay cut,” he added. “It’s fair to keep them whole – there’s no big raise there.”

Coun. Craig Speirs agreed that it is an appropriate raise.

“It’s not an increase, it’s an equalization,” he said.

“We just want to make sure the next council has the same compensation we have.”

Speirs added that he trusts city hall staff has the numbers right.

Chief administrative officer Paul Gill explained the new tax rules will impact virtually every council member differently, based on their income. For example, a retired councillor may not lose eligibility for pension benefits based on increased council income.

“The intent there is no net gain, or no net cost, overall,” said Gill. “It’s not an extra enrichment.”

Pitt Meadows council will also be addressing the changes in tax rules.