Owen Sound city hall.
Owen Sound city council members received almost a quarter of a million dollars in combined wages and reimbursed expenses last year, about seven per cent more than in 2017.Mayor Ian Boddy was paid a salary of $49,329, about 2.5 per cent more than in 2017, along with $463 in expense claims.Former Deputy-mayor Arlene Wright received $23,408 in wages and claimed about $162 in expenses, while current Deputy-mayor Brian O’Leary – who was a councillor for the first 11 months of 2018 – received $21,791 in pay and claimed $5,038 in expenses.The city councillors who were re-elected to new terms last fall – Travis Dodd, Richard Thomas, Scott Greig and Marion Koepke – each earned a salary of $21,603 last year.Thomas claimed $2,895 in expenses, while Dodd had $2,859, Koepke had $2,821 and Greig claimed $2,473.Former councillors Jim McManaman and Peter Lemon both received $20,355 in pay. McManaman, who did not seek another term in October’s municipal election, claimed $1,091 in expenses, while Lemon, who did not win his bid for re-election, had $2,821 in expenses.Councillors Brock Hamley, John Tamming and Carol Merton, who were each elected to first terms, received $1,248 in pay for Dec. 3 to 31. Hamley claimed $111 in expenses, while Tamming and Merton had $71.49 in expenses.Council member expenses typically include things like fees for attending conferences and related accommodations.Council pay and expenses cost property taxpayers a combined $246,279.57 for 2018.A report on council remuneration is set to come before city council Monday night for information purposes.Owen Sound had budgeted a net cost of $236,781 for mayor and council wages and expenses for 2018 and increased that amount to $288,350 for 2019.Part of the reason for the increase was council’s decision in December to boost members’ pay by 10 per cent in 2019 to fully offset the impact of a federal government decision to eliminate a one-third tax-free exemption for municipal officials.City council voted in 2012 that one-third of the pay for elected officials would be for expenses related to the discharge of their duties. Councils had reconfirmed the motion several times since.Last year, the federal government announced its intention to eliminate that tax-free exemption for municipal elected officials starting in 2019.