City council members give themselves a raise

THUNDER BAY — City councillors will receive a modest pay raise for 2024.

During this week's meeting, councillors agreed to a pay increase of 1.05 per cent, less than half the current rate of inflation.

Krista Power, the city clerk, told council that this figure is not required to be reviewed regularly.

"There certainly is something we find — the longer we wait in between, the farther city council tends to be behind.

"Then the appetite to equalize, which political officials often do to themselves, to give themselves a raise, is often a challenge."

At-large Coun. Mark Bentz suggested that the annual increase rate be reviewed more regularly in an effort to prevent pay rates from falling behind exponentially.

"If we are not being paid at a rate that's comparable to other municipalities, it's going to be harder to attract some folks around the table."

Bentz recalled a time when pay for councillors saw an increase of $10,000 to $12,000 because there hadn't been a salary review in a number of years.

"But this is what can happen if we wait too long," Bentz said.

"Future councils will have to think about that, maybe have it every so often so that there's no sticker shock to the public. It's better to inflate gradually than to say 'Hey, we're 15 per cent behind other communities,' and then somebody puts a resolution on the floor that we adjust."

This year's increase is a stark difference from the 2023 increase, which came at a rate of 2.9 per cent because of the high inflation rates of 2022.

Councillors will be making approximately $32,822 and the mayor will make approximately $99,842. The pay will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2024.

Committee work, health and retirement contributions, and a car allowance are not included in their salaries but are paid out and accounted for each year.

Katie Nicholls, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,