Regional district directors are considering a pay increase so that the elimination of a federal tax break wouldn’t affect their take-home. (David Gordon Koch photo) Directors of the RDBN in a meeting on April 5, 2018.

RDBN directors mull pay hike

Raise would offset tax break ending in 2019

Directors of the regional district may give themselves a pay raise to offset tax law changes that would result in reduced incomes for the elected officials.

One-third of pay for municipal officers is non-taxable, but that tax break is ending in 2019, according to a report by John Illes, chief financial officer for the RDBN. He presented a staff report on directors’ pay at a committee of the whole meeting on April 5.

“Staff is of the view that while members of the board may not anticipate a salary increase during their term of office, they do not expect a decrease, nor is a decrease appropriate,” the report says.

Directors currently receive a monthly allowance of $702, with rural directors pocketing another $435 along with a sum based on the population in their electoral area, the report says.

They receive other payments for attending meetings, and for serving in various functions such as committee chair, vice-chair or cheque signer. The RDBN is the only regional district that pays for the cheque-signer position, according to the report.

They also get reimbursed for expenses involved in attending RDBN-approved events, and remuneration goes up annually based on changes in the cost of living.

The seven-page staff report describes strategies that would prevent the directors from taking a pay cut.

According to the report, the simplest way to avoid a drop in take-home salary would be to boost the total remuneration for RDBN directors.

Increasing the total pay for directors by 10.4 percent in 2019 “will result in most directors receiving the same after-tax benefit,” according to the report.

The report compares the payment system for the RDBN to other jurisdictions, noting for example that most regional districts provide meeting payments based on the length of meetings, including travel time.

But not all regional districts provide this extra payment, with some considering the attendance of meetings covered by monthly remuneration.

In the Cariboo Regional District, directors receive $20 for every 100 km travelled to a meeting, a practice that should be adopted by the RDBN, according to the report.

Darcy Repen — the mayor of Telkwa — suggested that the added costs of a pay raise could be offset by reducing the number of in-person meetings, doing them instead by teleconference, if the RDBN could purchase the necessary equipment.

“That way we’re not just pushing it down on the taxpayer,” Repen said.

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