St. Mary’s council adopts pension plan

·2 min read

ST. MARY’S – Councillors for the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s are welcoming the new year with a public display of fiscal probity – sort of.

In a move that’s believed to be a first for the district, council’s committee of the whole approved a new pension plan for its members who have been, until now, responsible for administering their retirement savings.

The policy provides councillors with the option of subscribing to an RRSP, or contributing to a tax-free savings account. The funds will be automatically deducted from their monthly honorariums. The municipality will not provide matching funds.

The pension plan has been one of the new council’s first orders of business since taking office following the municipal election in October. Since then, portions of at least two official meetings – one of which involved a presentation by a financial advisor – have been spent on the issue, which one elected representative has touted as precedent setting.

“It’s kind of nice to be breaking new ground,” District 1 Councillor Courtney Mailman told the Journal last month.

She, District 2 Councillor Charlene Zinck and District 3/5 councillor, Warden Greg Wier, introduced the notion at the Nov. 18 committee of the whole meeting.

“Because myself, Warden Wier and Councillor Zinck are all under retirement age, and we all have full-time jobs, we wanted to look at the possibility of investing back into a retirement plan,” Mailman added.

Marian Fraser, the municipality’s director of finance, confirmed that staff was asked to formulate the new policy.

“It’s very basic,” she said. “We pulled it together with information we received from RBC, which is our main bank.”

Currently, St. Mary’s councillors, the warden and deputy warden receive “remunerations” set in each year’s operating budget. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, each elected representative will earn $13,043; the warden, an additional $8,300; and the deputy warden, a further $5,929.”

Asked whether councillors might continue to manage their retirement plans, Fraser said: “You absolutely could. This is just an easy avenue.”

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal