Kneehill County council opt to cut salaries

·2 min read

Administrative staff presented Kneehill County council members with a draft policy to reduce council remunerations to aid the county in saving money amid financial hardships, which came as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, during the Tuesday, February 23 regular Kneehill County council meeting.

Discussion first began in December 2020 and was brought back to council during the Tuesday, January 26 council meeting where council voted in favour of administration drafting a new remuneration policy.

“I like how it’s all brought back into one policy, especially Schedule A showing a decrease of 15 per cent roughly,” said Councillor Debbie Penner.

According to council expense reports, each council member receives an annual base pay remuneration of $27,958; the Reeve and Deputy Reeve receive base pay of $36,468 and $31,605 respectively.

Attendance at regular council meetings is included in the base salary rates, and council also receive per diem for attendance at other board and committee meetings, mileage allowance for travel--which is already at the minimum mandatory rate set by the Canada Revenue Agency, and a communications allowance--which has been beneficial throughout the COVID-19 pandemic when attendance at regular council and committee meetings may not have been feasible.

Council remuneration fell under numerous policies, including overnight and conference attendance. The drafted Council Compensation and Expense Reimbursement Policy will combine the 13 current policies into a singular, overarching policy.

The draft policy will reduce council base pay by 15 per cent and includes compensation for attendance at various social functions as representatives of Kneehill County, including various ceremonies, parades, and photo ops.

Councillor Kenneth King thanked his fellow council members for the work done to review the policies. He moved for the new Council Compensation and Expense Reimbursement Policy to be brought back for ratification at the Tuesday, March 9 council meeting.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail