East Ferris council agreed to increase the pay for both mayor and council positions. The mayor will receive $2,300 per month, the deputy mayor will be paid $1,419.17 per month, and each month councillors will receive $1,379.17.

“What I’m proposing is going to cost a total of $17,360 extra dollars a year,” councillor Terry Kelly said, who raised the discussion to increase the rates higher than those suggested by municipal staff. A pay raise was on the books, and staff suggested the mayor’s pay rise to $1,973—from $1,934 last year—which would be slightly below average compared to other similarly sized municipalities.

East Ferris’ municipal staff put together a list of municipalities with populations between 4,500 to 5,500 for comparison. Average salary was $2,075 for the mayor, $1,226 for deputy mayor, and $1,136 for a councillor.

See: Pay rates set for East Ferris council’s next term

With East Ferris falling below that average, councillor Kelly noted “we’re not getting a raise, we’re just playing catch up. We should be matching Greenstone.”

Greenstone—‘Nature’s Home Town’—is about a 10 hour drive North West of North Bay. Once you hit Longlac, keep West on Highway 11 for about an hour and you’ll find yourself there. It’s a smaller municipality, about the size of East Ferris, and it pays the mayor $2,300.

Now, East Ferris matches Greenstone. “It’s not about us as an individual, it’s about the position” Mayor Pauline Rochefort said.

Councillor Rick Champagne agreed, noting “at one point, things have to change. If you want to get people involved in politics you have to make it worthwhile. We don’t do it for the money—don’t get me wrong—but if we don’t do it now for future consideration for other people to run, the incentive isn’t there.”

The increase will be applied retroactively to January 1st, 2023. The per diem rates remain the same, as do the meal allowance rates. If mayor or council are required to go out of town on municipal business, they receive $75 for a half day and $150 for a full day. If the stay requires multiple days, such as the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Association Conference, each is allotted $200 per day.

As for meals, the flat rate is $20 for breakfast, $30 for lunch, and $50 for dinner.

Councillor Steven Trahan emphasized how East Ferris is well-represented at regional and provincial conferences by council and agreed with Champagne’s point of making municipal politics more attractive to citizens. “Sometimes you have to pay for the talent you have.”

By David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 22, 2023 at 16:21

This item reprinted with permission from   BayToday.ca   North Bay, Ontario
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