Friday, May 26, 2017

Pay hike looming for new politicians

By Morning Star RICHARD ROLKE Wed May 24th, 2017 6:15am
Political pay is climbing in Coldstream but not any time soon. Council voted Tuesday to hike remuneration to $13,500 for councillors and $30,000 for the mayor as of Jan. 1, 2019. “It won’t come in during our term but during the next term,” said Mayor Jim Garlick. Currently, the mayor receives $29,570 and councillors receive $11,721. There is also meeting pay. The last council remuneration review was in 2010, and since then, rates were increased annually based on the consumer price index. The decision to hike salaries followed a look at what politicians are paid in several other similar-sized communities. However, there was some debate about whether the increase should be higher as the federal government may remove the one-third tax exemption from local officials. In the end, though, council opted not to react to the possible federal policy. “If there are going to be changes, we can address them when they come along,” said Coun. Richard Enns.
Allowance for Members of Legislative Assemblies and Certain Municipal Officers
The reimbursement of expenses incurred in the course of carrying out the duties of an office or employment is generally not a taxable benefit to the recipient. By contrast, a non-accountable allowance for which an individual does not have to provide details or submit receipts to justify amounts paid is generally a taxable benefit.

Certain officials may receive non-accountable allowances for work expenses that are not included in computing income for tax purposes. These officials are:

elected members of provincial and territorial legislative assemblies and officers of incorporated municipalities;
elected officers of municipal utilities boards, commissions, corporations or similar bodies; and
members of public or separate school boards or of similar bodies governing a school district.
The excluded amount is limited to half of the official’s salary or other remuneration received in that capacity during the year.

Budget 2017 proposes to require that non-accountable allowances paid to these officials be included in income. The reimbursement of employment expenses will remain a non-taxable benefit to the recipient.

In order to provide affected organizations more time to adjust their compensation schemes, this measure will apply to the 2019 and subsequent taxation years.

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