Port Edward increasing pay for mayor, councillors as interest in industrial development grows

The District of Port Edward began the process of increasing pay for its mayor and councillors at the Dec. 10 meeting.

As industry turns its eyes to Port Edward and millions of dollars in land sales take place, the District of Port Edward began the process of increasing pay for its mayor and councillors at the Dec. 10 meeting.

The pay for the mayor will increase from $9,960 to $13,000 in 2014 while councillors will see an increase from $5,860 to $9,000, and both will see a two per cent increase in 2015 and 206 to cap out at $13,525 and $9,364 respectively. In making the recommendation, chief administrative officer Ron Bedard said the raises reflect amount of activity in the region.

“Our community is seeing an influx in development. With all of the different meetings and issues that council must address because of all the different projects being proposed for our area, it is demanding more of council’s time,” he wrote, noting the decision comes after more than a decade of financial difficulties

“In the past 12 years, with the closure of the pulp mill, the district’s budget has been very conservative. Council has been very sensitive to any kind of tax increases that would have created undue hardship on our residents and businesses. During this time, council reduced the cost of doing business by cutting most capital projects, not replacing vehicles unless absolutely necessary, keeping staffing the same, etc. … this year we have sold approximately $3.1 million in district property and it is anticipated that we will sell another $2 million of district property in the new year. These sales will provide additional tax dollars both next year and the years to come.”

In comparison, the mayor of Prince Rupert is paid $42,473 and Prince Rupert councillors are paid $13,180 while the chair of the Skeena – Queen Charlotte Regional District is paid $17,020 and each director is paid $11,098, leaving Port Edward’s leader and councillors on the lower end of the elected official pay scale for the region.