Niagara Regional councillors reverse decision on pay

Niagara Regional Councillors have changed their minds when it comes funding for their compensation.

The federal government ruled that as of the start of this year, one third of an elected official's salary would no longer be tax exempt.

Previously, Niagara Regional Council decided to nix an overall increase of $198,000 in councillor remuneration from the budget, opting to take a hit on the amount of salary they get to take home.

St. Catharines Regional Councillor Kelly Edgar tells Tim Denis why regional council decided to reverse that decision.

"Councillors were going to take, on average, a $2,800 cut in pay because of the 30% non-taxable portion."

Edgar says, in gross, he makes $30,000.

During the Niagara Region Budget Review Committee meeting, St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik said, "I do think that the work we put in as councillors, we are underpaid for the amount of hours that we work. But I don't think anyone here's saying we should make more. I think what we're saying is that let's just make sure that we're getting compensated for the work that we put in."

St. Catharines Regional Councillor Laura Ip took a different view. "I'm adamantly opposed to putting [the funding] back in as the original mover to have it removed from the last budget meeting." She went on to say, "I didn't get in to politics for the money, I see it as a way to serve my community, just like I don't continue to work in non-profit for the money as well. It's also a way to contribute to my community."

The motion to put the money back into the budget passed 21 to 11.