July 20th, 2024

County gives councillors a raise in contested vote

By Tim Kalinowski on August 16, 2017.


Cypress County council voted to raise member salaries at Tuesday’s public meeting, but the increase won’t take effect until after the next municipal election.

According to information provided to council members, collected from jurisdictions across Alberta, Cypress County council salaries are among the lowest in the province. The current councillor rate of pay for Cypress County is $600 per month, with a $225 per day top-up when they are attending meetings and events on behalf of the county. The reeve’s monthly salary is $775.

Councillors voted 6-3 in favour of a monthly salary of $1,000 and a per diem of $250, about half that of most other rural jurisdictions. The Cypress County reeve will get $1,400 per month.

Not all on council were happy with the vote.”As far as a small increment goes to keep up with inflation, that’s about all I would be in favour of,” said Coun. Garry Lentz. “I would be totally opposed to some of these large (salary increase) numbers that have been presented … This council will probably go on the record as having spent more money than any other council in the past has ever done.”

Lentz’s comment drew an angry retort from Coun. Richard Oster.

“This council will be known for the amount of stuff it got done,” said Oster. “The amount of projects that went through. The fact we are not trying to have this huge bank amount based on taxpayers’ dollars instead of putting the money back into (the county).”

Coun. Dustin Vossler felt a fair living wage was important to attract new council members who might feel the call to public service.

“I don’t feel you are attracting people for the wrong reasons (by offering a modest increase),” he said. “Compensating people fairly for their time, I think, is the big thing here.”

Coun. Art Squire concurred, and felt the upcoming election would be an opportunity for the public to have their say on the issue.

“If we bring it up now, we are showing the people we are transparent,” said Squire. “We are right up front telling the public what we are going to do, and let them make a decision on what they want to do.”

Couns. Geigle, Mudie and Lentz all voted against the increase.

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