(Municipality of Chatham-Kent)

Chatham-Kent Council approved a Citizen Review Committee recommendation regarding compensation at Monday night’s January 21 meeting in Chatham.

In a vote of 14-2, Council agreed to increase the honorarium for the Mayor to $110,000 annually and to increase the Councillor honorarium to $32,000 annually.

Chatham Coun. Amy Finn and East Kent Coun. John Wright voted against the recommendation, while North Kent Counc. Jamie McGrail and East Kent Coun. Steve Pinsonneault were not in attendance for the meeting.

Chatham-Kent Mayor Darrin Canniff said in a video posted on social media the reason for the increase is that the Federal government made tax changes that “effectively downloaded cost to the Municipality.

“Because of this change more taxes are now payable by the Councillors and the Mayor. What has happened here is we’ve added $97,000 to the budget… the only winner in that is the federal Government. Council and Mayor will receive no net benefit from it. We’ll have higher earnings, but now we’ll be taxed a lot higher on those earnings.”

See Canniff’s full video, here:

A staff report indicates the volunteer committee, which was made up of community representatives from a cross-section of organizations, met back in October and November to review the impact of the elimination of the tax-exempt portion of remuneration, which came into effect on January 1, 2019.

The Committee discussed that “the purpose of the honorarium is to attract diverse, competent and civically minded individuals to run for Council.

“In addition, the Committee’s recommendation ensures that the honorarium levels for both Mayor and Councillors are competitive in comparison to comparator Municipalities,” a staff report indicates.

A staff report indicates Council compensation had not been increased since 2004 other than inflationary adjustments.

To read the full staff report, click here.