North Huron council updates remuneration, expense bylaw

·3 min read

NORTH HURON – Council discussed the proposed updates to the remuneration and expense bylaw that would see the next sitting councillors get a raise to align them with other Huron County municipalities.

Deputy Reeve Trevor Seip expressed his concerns about the reaction from some community members regarding councillors being paid.

“I take great pain when people say councillors get paid and what do they provide us? I take great offence to some of the comments,” he said.

Seip said the number of people vying for the six seats on council is very low, noting that the township has more than 4,000 eligible constituents that could run for the seats.

“They’re not lining up out the door to do this job,” he said. “Why is that? I don’t know about anybody else sitting on this stage, but for the most part it’s a thankless job. From residents, from whoever believes that we may or may not be doing the best interest of them.

“When I look at these numbers and I look at the fact that North Huron is lower in the median scale, what’s the incentive for an individual to come out and take on the headache, because it is a headache,” Seip said, adding he goes home with a headache most evenings.

“This is a part-time job,” Seip said. “Cities pay full-time wages for these jobs. I have a full-time job besides this, as many of the other ones do.”

The remuneration and expenses bylaw establishes the honorarium, meeting pay, committee, board pay, per diem allowance, meal and mileage allowances, and conference/convention allowance, a report prepared by Julie Ireland, clerks administrative assistant, and Carson Lamb, North Huron clerk said.

“It is best practice among municipalities to undertake a comprehensive review and update of the council remuneration and expenses bylaw during the final year of each term of council. This process last occurred in 2018.”

Compared to other local municipalities, compensation for North Huron council is significantly lower, according to the research conducted by staff.

South Huron Mayor receives $31,562 total estimated pay, while North Huron Reeve collects $11,204, one of the lowest remunerations on the list of seven municipalities.

The proposed increase aims to “strike a balance between attempting to align with the average, and not cause too much of an increase that would significantly impact taxation.”

The honorarium for councillors will increase from the current rate of $7,398.78 to $9,000; the rate for Deputy Reeve from $8,646 to $10,800; and the rate for the Reeve from $10,814.27 to $12,600.

The net effect of this update would be an increase of $11,945.83.

Regarding meeting pay, it is proposed to increase the compensation for meetings of two hours or less from $65.01 to $80.

The compensation for meetings of two hours or more but less than four hours from $108.35 to $125; and the compensation for meetings over four hours from $130.02 to $175.

Coun. Paul Heffer requested a recorded vote, which passed 6-1, with Heffer being the lone vote against. The bylaw will be presented for third reading on Oct. 6.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times