City council

Penticton’s mayor should get a 20% pay increase and councillors deserve a 17% raise, according to an external task force appointed to study the issue.

Key among the recommendations, which will be presented to council at its meeting Tuesday, is increasing politicians’ pay to make up for one-third of it no longer being tax-free due to a recent change in federal rules.

That would equal an extra $9,893 per year for the mayor and $2,000 for each councillor.

The task force is also recommending elected officials’ salaries be automatically pegged to inflation and tied to three other factors: median individual income in Penticton, counterparts’ pay in similar-sized communities, and the value of the property tax roll compared to similar-sized communities.

The changes would be retroactive to Jan. 1, and lift the mayor’s annual pay from $65,139 to $78,332, and individual councillors’ from $22,160 to $25,936.

If the recommendations are accepted, taxpayers would be on the hook for an additional $35,849 this year alone.

However, there would be no cost attached to a separate recommendation that the city continue providing medical benefits to council members, but entirely at their own expense rather than the 50-50 share available to the last council.

Task force members were Robert Heywood, Helen Sparkles, Gary Dean, Wayne Llewellyn and Doug Leahy.

Council will also hear Tuesday that many city employees have enjoyed big pay boosts of their own recently.

The annual statement of information shows 122 workers earned over $75,000 last year, up from 105 in 2017.

A staff report states staffing levels remained “reasonably consistent” over that time period, but employees cashed in on overtime during flooding and other emergency events, an expense that was reimbursed by the province.

The top earner last year was former city manager Peter Weeber, who earned $199,990.33.

Those items will be presented at the 1 p.m. meeting.

At the evening meeting beginning at 6, council will be asked to give its blessing to seven more proposed cannabis retail stores.

The proposed locations are 101-437 Martin St.; 465 Main Street; 101-130 Nanaimo Ave. W.; 101-94 Ellis St.; 103-2050 Main St.; 103-3502 Skaha Lake Rd.; and 104-1652 Fairview Rd.

A report from planning manager Blake Laven states all seven sites comply with applicable zoning rules for such shops.

Council green-lighted four other shops in April.

Council can recommend the businesses for approval, but the final decision rests with the B.C. Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

The meeting starts at 1 p.m.

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