Village of Burns Lake wages comparable to District of Houston

Mayor Luke Strimbold made a mere $15,000 for 2014,

Five employees of the Village of Burns Lake earned a combined $434,510.34 in 2014, according to the municipality’s 2014 Statement of Financial Information.

The document, released June 23, indicates that employees Bernice Crossman, Chris Harms, Rick Martin, Jim McBride, and Sheryl Worthing were all paid in excess of $75,000 last year.

Worthing, the village’s Chief Administrative Officer, was also its highest paid employee in 2014. She earned $115,820.69 for the year ended December 31, 2014, and received an additional $4,664.46 for expenses incurred while conducting municipal business.

Employees McBride, Martin, and Harms earned comparable incomes from the village in 2014. McBride, Burns Lake’s director of protective services, received remuneration totaling $82,730.72 and an additional $3,962.38 in expenses, while Martin (the community’s director of public works) was paid $81,476.82 and had business expenses of $2,447.77.

Harms was the sole member of the village works crew to make more than $75,000 during the period. As the municipality’s Utility Man Level II, he received $79,352.10 in remuneration and an additional $1,333.65 in reimbursed expenses.

Crossman, the municipality’s director of finance and author of its most recent Statement of Financial Information, rounded out the list of village employees who earned more than $75,000 last year. She received $75,130.01 in remuneration, and had expense claims totaling $7,773.21.

In 2014, the village also paid an additional $1,098,688.80 in remuneration and expenses to 50 employees whose incomes were below the Financial Information Act’s $75,000 reporting threshold.

Burns Lake elected officials didn’t fare as well financially in 2014 as their employees. Mayor Strimbold received his customary stipend of $15,000, as well as $6,401.63 in expense money. Councillors Chris Beach and John Illes each received stipends of $7,500 for the year. Beach’s expenses during the period totaled $5,830.15, while Illes’ were $2,842.60.

Councillors Wes Hart and Frank Varga were each paid $7,230.73 for their 11 months on council. Hart incurred expenses of $1,333.79 during the period, while Varga had expenses totaling $907.20.

Kelly Holliday and Susan Schienbein, elected in last November’s municipal election, each received $288.46 for their work on council. Neither had any expenses.

Burns Lake also paid more than $25,000 to two dozen suppliers in 2014. The highest amount, $1,257,539.76, went to Venture Pacific Construction Management Ltd., the firm that built the Lakeside Multiplex. Two other suppliers – the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako and the Receiver General of Canada – each received in excess of $400,000 from the village.

Burns Lake’s employee remuneration and expense totals were comparable to those recorded by the District of Houston during the same period.

According to Houston’s 2014 Statement of Financial Information, its five highest paid employees last year collectively earned $428,569 in remuneration and an additional $7,992 in reimbursed expenses, while its highest paid employee received remuneration and reimbursed expenses totaling slightly more than $102,000.

The stipends paid to Burns Lake’s members of council were also comparable to those of the District of Houston. The latter community’s mayor earned $14,468 in 2014, while its councillors received between $7,200 and $8,549.

Houston employees who earned less than $75,000 last year were collectively paid $1.437 million in remuneration and expenses.

B.C.’s Financial Information Act requires that all public sector corporations in B.C. – including its municipalities – file annual Statements of Financial Information.