Next week City Council will vote to adopt changes to the Remuneration Bylaw. The changes will give the Mayor and Council raises to bring their salaries up to the average amongst like-sized BC communities.
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.
Since day one of the debate Coun. Mike Bhangu has been opposed, not completely to the raise itself but how it’s being implemented. Twice Bhangu tried unsuccessfully to amend to the bylaw to include wording to have the raise take effect after the next election.
“The decision to raise the Mayor and Council’s remuneration isn’t right or wrong. In the Mayor’s case, Mayor Brown works hard, and she deserves a raise, but I would have done it differently,” said Bhangu.
“For this reason, beginning in 2020 I’ve decided to give back $1,000 to the community,” added Bhangu.
The councillor isn’t yet sure of exactly how he plans to spread the money out.
“I’d also like to get a little creative and get the public input, what would they like to see,” said Bhangu. “I know $1,000 isn’t much, but I’m sure we can do something with it that can enhance our community.”
Bhangu is considering some local non-profits and individuals that are making a difference in Merritt.
He also confirmed that the initiative will continue for as long as he remains on the Council.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt