Maple Ridge council: (from left) Craig Speirs, Gordy Robson, Kiersten Duncan, Nicole Read, Corisa Bell, Tyler Shymkiw and Bob Masse. (Contributed)

News Views: Whole now

Maple Ridge council’s salaries “increase” more than 20% in response to changes in federal tax laws.

Maple Ridge council voted unanimously Tuesday to increase the salaries for mayor and council by more than 20 per cent, to off-set a “reduction” in their after-tax income.

The decision was in response to changes in federal tax laws, and members of council made sure to point a finger in that direction before voting on the change, which will affect the incoming council.

As part of the 2017 federal budget, Ottawa decided to peel back a tax break for certain politicians.

A change in the Income Tax Act comes into effect on Jan. 1, eliminating a provision that allowed elected officials to have one-third of their income tax exempt.

Specific employment expenses, filed with receipts, will remain non-taxable.

The measure affects elected members of provincial and territorial legislatures, as well as municipalities, including school boards, although some city governments in Canada, Calgary being one, got rid of such exemptions a decade ago.

Maple Ridge council’s audit and finance committee recommended that the mayor’s salary “increase” by 24 per cent to $114,250, and councillors by 23 per cent to $45,700, effective Jan. 1, 2019, to “mitigate the impact of the reduction.”

The base salary for a councillor will be set at 40 per cent of that for mayor.

Effective June 1, 2017 the mayor’s salary was $92,310, and councillors $37,285.

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

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is happy the tax exemption was removed, as it was a disservice in explaining how much money politicians actually make.

The hidden allowance, it has said, boosted some incomes by up to $30,000 a year.

A nice perk to cover the expenses of public service.

But, as noted by Maple Ridge council, sometimes politicians have to drive to meetings.

Now that it has agreed to the pay increase, voters have the transparency they deserve.

And for that you can thank the federal government.

It’s a clearer way to show what a council member makes, with benefits, and the amount is fully taxable.

The municipal election is in October.

Run. Or don’t.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

Just Posted

Horse put down after hit by car in Maple Ridge, one person to hospital

Accident along 132nd Avenue in Maple Ridge Friday afternoon

City-run garbage and green waste plebiscite coming

Non-binding vote taken with local election ballots in Maple Ridge

Anita Place man who attacked strangers gets a day in jail

Chad Edwards ordered to complete counselling for mental health and abuse of meth

Maple Ridge charity events remember short life of Kira Short

Events include a beer and taco night, self-care for moms and a dinner and hockey tournament.

Burrards fall to first-place ‘Bellies

Maple Ridge loses 14-13 in OT Thursday.

Celebrating Indigenous peoples

Students at Meadowridge School held their inaugural Indigenous People’s Day on Wednesday

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged B.C. fentanyl dealer

Vancouver Island man Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to investigation

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

PHOTOS: Police rescue baby seal found on rocky B.C. shoreline

Marina Mammal Rescue Centre recommends residents observe from a distance

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

Happy ending for orphaned bear cubs

Two orphaned bear cubs were captured in Castlegar and sent for rehabilitation.

10 feet from home: B.C. grassfire offers stark reminder how quickly blazes burn

Kamloops woman among first people in B.C. to be told to evacuate home this wildfire season

Most Read