ST. MARY’S – Direct compensation to councillors and staff in the District of St. Mary’s will increase only marginally, according to the municipality’s most recent budget documents.
The Journal’s analysis shows that in a $3.5 million operating budget for the year ending March 31, 2023, expenditures on the remuneration for councillors – including the stipends for warden and deputy warden – is budgeted at $108,169, only 2.5 per cent higher than last year’s actual expenditure of $105,528 and below Nova Scotia’s annual inflation rate of 4.8 per cent.
Council has approved the following remunerations for this fiscal year: $13,369 for each councillor, plus $8,503 and $6,076 for the warden and deputy warden, respectively. Additionally, councillors will be paid a per diem of $55 for meals to and from meetings, conferences and workshops.
There’s also very little change in projected staff costs. Under “general administrative” services, expenditures on administration, employee benefits and financial management are budgeted at $307,361, compared with actual costs of $303,807 last year.
The cost of government services per constituent in St. Mary’s is about $44 a year. That compares with roughly $42 in neighbouring and more populous Municipality of the District of Guysborough, which paid its elected officials and staff about $960,000 in 2021-22.
In St. Mary’s budget documents, staff noted several funding commitments to various economic development projects currently underway: “After the completion of the Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-Law updates, [we] will be initiating a new Land Development Committee to explore the best ways to utilize municipal land for the growth of St. Mary’s. Funds have been allocated to help advance efforts of this committee and new opportunities within the municipality.”
The St. Mary’s budget open house – the first in two years since the beginning of the pandemic—will occur at the municipal building in Sherbrooke on Wednesday, April 27, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal