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Wage increase: Study suggests nine per cent for Abbotsford mayor, seven per cent for councillors

City councillors could vote for a raise on Monday.

A report, presented by city manager Frank Pizzuto, is recommending a wage increase of nine per cent for the mayor and seven per cent for councillors, beginning in December of 2011 – after the next municipal election.

The last salary increase for the mayor took place four years ago, in January of 2007, while councillors’ earnings were reviewed in 2008.

The suggested raise is based on the findings of Tim Dillon and Associates, a consulting firm which reviewed the wages of 10 comparable cities.

The firm based its recommendation in order to place Abbotsford in the mid range of city salaries.

“Council made it very clear that it didn’t want to be at the top or the bottom,” said Pizzuto

The suggested raise would increase the mayor’s salary from $86,600 to $94,500 while councillors would go from $34,700 to $37,200.

The mayor's increases work out to an average of 1.8 per cent a year, for the past five years, while councillors would get an average of 1.4 per cent a year.

The report also recommends a yearly salary adjustment, equal to the Vancouver consumer price index (CPI).

“We are trying to avoid the bigger increases that are announced every three years,” said Pizzuto.

He said last year the CPI was 1.5 per cent. Other suggestions in the report included the option to enroll in health benefits, an allowance of $2,500 (mayor) and $1,000 (councillors) to attend community events and another review in 2014.

“It’s a little self serving when politicians set their own wages,” said Abbotsford Mayor George Peary.

He stressed the fact the increase would not benefit the present council, however he realizes some members of the public will object.

“It will always raise the ire of some who think we are overpaid,” said Peary.

The study cost $9,000 and the increase would be reflected in the 2012 budget.

Council will vote on the issue during Monday’s executive committee meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium.

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