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Council remuneration discussions to occur

A decision made by the federal government in 2017 to remove a tax exemption for elected officials will have an impact on councillors' take-home pay, according to Sharon Pollyck, director of the Chief Administrative Officer’s office with the City of A
Council remuneration
Airdrie City council will debate increasing mayor and councillor salaries during upcoming budget deliberations, after the federal government approved the removal of a tax exemption for municipal elected officials.

A decision made by the federal government in 2017 to remove a tax exemption for elected officials will have an impact on councillors' take-home pay, according to Sharon Pollyck, director of the Chief Administrative Officer’s office with the City of Airdrie. “As a result, in January 2019…elected officials will then have to pay tax on 100 per cent of their income,” she said. Municipal elected officials currently receive an exemption for one third of non-accountable expenses – including items such as local travel, cellphone and fax machine, she added. Mayor Peter Brown said he didn’t think a decision made by politicians at another level of government should have an impact on his take-home pay. “I did not anticipate the government putting this down on our community,” he said. “I know what I budgeted for. I know what I can anticipate for me and my family.” But Deputy Mayor Al Jones said he would be uncomfortable approving any changes to his own salary, and said he believed the responsibility should fall to someone other than council members. The previous council approved the adoption of a new model to determine remuneration for both the mayor and council members at its Feb. 6, 2017, meeting. Under the new model, the mayor’s salary is determined using the average of mayors’ salaries from other comparable municipalities, with consideration given to population. Councillor salaries are then 47 per cent of the mayor’s salary. Current council approved this model at its Oct. 30, 2017, organizational meeting. A motion from Coun. Kelly Hegg to have any discussion of amending council salaries occur during the 2019 budget deliberations – set to begin later this month – passed unanimously.

Habitat for Humanity

Attempts to set up a Habitat for Humanity chapter in Airdrie have encountered a number of roadblocks, according to the organization’s Director of Regional Development Louise Gagne – putting responsibility for future projects in the city back in the hands of the Calgary chapter. According to Gagne, Habitat builds affordable homes for families in need who are not required to provide a down payment and receive an interest-free mortgage. Habitat has had two builds in Airdrie so far – a duplex project in 2012 and two triplex projects in 2016. According to Gagne, each month, four to five Airdrie families – more than 50 since February – have approached the organization and indicated an interest in working with them. Recognizing the need for affordable housing in Airdrie, Gagne asked council to consider how Habitat could work with the City to provide this service. Hegg made a motion, which was passed unanimously, directing staff to investigate how the City might collaborate with Habitat and return to council with recommendations.

AUMA resolutions

Council was presented with recommendations from the City’s Intergovernmental Liaison, Leona Esau, regarding 16 resolutions to be considered at the upcoming Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) annual convention, to be held Sept. 26 to 28 in Red Deer. Esau provided council with a recommendation on how those councillors attending the convention might vote on each resolution. Brown and Coun. Tina Petrow will attend the convention on behalf of City council. A motion, which stated the two voting members attending the convention would vote as per the recommendations of staff, was passed unanimously.