City to consider bumping Prince Rupert mayor up to full time

The City of Prince Rupert will consider changing the mayor's position to full-time during upcoming budget discussions.

The City of Prince Rupert will consider changing the mayor’s position to full-time during upcoming budget discussions.

The subject was brought forward by Coun. Barry Cunningham during Monday night’s council meeting, with Mayor Lee Brain excusing himself from the conversation.

“I believe right now we have too much going on so the mayor should be here a little more than two or three days a week and working on weekends when other people aren’t available,” said Cunningham.

“In the last month and a half so much has changed and so much more is coming at city hall and city council that I really think these things have to be addressed.”

The city’s mayor used to be paid as a full-time position, but was cut back a number of years ago due to financial constraints. The mayor was paid $42,474 in 2013.

But bumping up the mayor’s stipend was a decision Coun. Joy Thorkelson wanted to wait to make.

Thorkelson noted that every $100,000 added to the budget would equate to a one per cent tax increase for taxpayers.

“If you’re looking at $50,000, that’s a half per cent increase in everyone’s taxes in Prince Rupert,” she said.

“I agree with you that the mayor should be a full-time position and should be paid full-time. But what we do for that wage is a different discussion … my opinion is we should not as a council continually restrict ourselves in the budget and set items for this next year outside the budget process. Otherwise, why do we have a budget process?”

In the end, council unanimously agreed to hold off the discussion on the mayor’s stipend until the next budget meeting.

The Mayor of Terrace is currently a part-time position paid $34,500 a year.