Friday, June 8, 2018

City of Prince Rupert's SOFI report provides details on Council salaries in 2017

The 2017 Statement of Financial Information report
provides a snapshot of Council's salary and expenses from the last year

It's report season for the City of Prince Rupert, with a number of financial reviews set to be delivered to City Council at their Monday evening Council session.

For those looking to get a head start in examining the range of topics from those reports, the documents are now available for the public to review as part of the Agenda package for the Monday council session.

Among the volume of material to be delivered Monday is the annual review of the Salaries and Expenses for elected officials. That review provided as part of the annual Statement of Financial Information process, a requirement of the Financial Information Regulations, with the final numbers from the year previous delivered to the public during the month of June.

There aren't many changes to view when it comes to the City of Prince Rupert compensation packages for elected officials for the last year, with the remuneration and expenses for the Mayor and Council coming in at just over the $177,000 mark as of the final day of December, making for an ever so slight uptick from the year before

Mayor Lee Brain continues to lead the salary listings for elected officials, his remuneration and taxable benefits for civic duties listed at $61,300 a combination of the approved Mayor's salary, as well as an additional amount that was topped up by Council in 2015 through the Planning for Major Projects budget, a pay bump which made use of the Prince Rupert Legacy Fund.

The history of that pay raise goes back to May of that year, at that time Council decided that the Mayor's position required a full time salary, adding on to the base Mayoralty salary of the time of $40,762 dollars, and making use of funds through the major projects budget, it is those twin funding sources that bring this year's compensation to the $61,300 mark.

That top up comes to an end as of December 31st of this year, the fate of the status of a full time mayor and additional salary to be determined by the Council to be elected this October.

For 2017 Mr. Brain also claimed reported expenses of $17,892 on the year, marking a slight increase from his reported expenses of the year before.

The city's reporting process on expenses comes by way of a lump sum notation on expenses in the SOFI listings, to this point, there is no further breakdown provided when it comes to where that spending by civic officials took place.

Some municipal governments and the Provincial legislature make for a much more detailed report when it comes to the expenses claimed by public officials, an example of that scale of disclosure can be found from the Provincial legislature reporting process.

From the combination of Remuneration, Taxable Benefits and Expenses, the Mayors totals for 2016 are listed at $79,192.

The Mayor will also be adding to his year pay package through compensation to be delivered through his work with Regional District, that SOFI declaration will be released through that organization later this month.

Last year the Mayor's Regional District duties provided for an additional 12,927 dollars towards his income stream. 

Councillor Kinney, who passed away earlier this year, as well as other council members who may have participated in regional district duties will also have received additional compensation for their work with North Coast Regional District.

As for the remainder of the Council collective, for 2017, City Councillors collected remuneration and taxable benefits of $13,431 each, which is down slightly from the base salary of the year prior, Council members are listed as having varying levels of expenses claimed through to the end of 2017.

For the third year in a row, Councillor Niesh submitted the largest of the expense claims on the year at $5,192, while Councillor  Thorkelson was the most parsimonious  of Council  members reporting expense requirements to the $524 point through last year.

A commitment to municipal service has also offered up some benefits for elected officials at tax time in April as well. The Canada Revenue Agency guidelines note that one third of an elected officials salary is deemed as tax free.

However, this will be the last year that municipal politicians can take advantage of the tax benefit, as the Federal financial instrument is about to come to an end as of January 1st.

That after the Federal government recently removed that element of their tax regulations that allows for that portion of salary as a tax free benefit.

It is an issue that many City Council's across the province have addressed in recent months, with some voting to increase the salaries of council members to make up for the shortfall to come in 2019.

So far, the members of City council have not discussed that issue and how they may wish to approach it in any of their public sessions this year.

We explored that financial change for Council members with this item from April.

The 2017 SOFI report on salaries, benefits and expenses
for Prince Rupert City Council

The SOFI documentation for 2017 can be reviewed from the Agenda listings for the June 11th Regular Council session, those files are part of the package available on the city's website.

Once the report is received by Council, the financial reviews can be found on the City Hall archive page here,  allowing for a year to year comparison.

The Review of Council compensation is one of a number of reports for Council, you can review the other notes on those below:

2017 SOFI Report shows civic payroll edging over the 14 million dollar mark
Partnerships and Solutions part of the focus for City of Prince Rupert's 2017 Annual Report

More items of note on the City's budget process can be reviewed here, while our archive of articles on City Council Discussions can be found here.

Note: the article has been amended to better reflect the level of expenses listed by the city report.

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