Last night, Merritt City Council passed changes to the remuneration bylaw through its first three readings.
The crux of the bylaw is to bring the council’s and Mayor’s salaries on par with like-sized communities across the province.
The proposed raise would see the Mayor earn $36,582 and Councillors $17,394. Currently Mayor Linda Brown is making $25,984 and Council $15,590.
The debate, like three weeks ago, began with Coun. Mike Bhangu attempting to amend.
“I would like to again suggest that this pay increase be implemented after the next election,” said Bhangu.
Once again like three weeks ago Bhangu’s amendment did not receive a second.
Coun. Travis Fehr also attempted to amend the resolution by deferring a decision until the new year. The amendment was defeated by a 5-2 vote, Bhangu was in support.
“It’s never a good time, it’s never a good time for a raise. We’ll have the same argument in March that we’re having now, we’ll have the same argument in three-years that we’re having now,” said Coun. Tony Luck. “It’s never good timing because the public never feels that way about it.”
“I have to tell you this is the hardest thing any council member has to do is vote on raises,” said Brown. “I agree with Councillor Luck, it doesn’t matter what time, whether it’s before or after an election, it’s still hard, it’s still going to be critiqued.”
Also built into the bylaw is an automatic review of remuneration at the end of every term for the incoming mayor and council.
The bylaw will return at the August 27 meeting for final adoption.
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