By Justin Seward
Cypress County council will receive a raise after discussing a remuneration amendment at the Aug. 15 regular meeting.
The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Wage and Compensation Survey information from 2016 pertained to elected officials and there were no significant differences between a councilor and a deputy reeve.
Results of the survey indicated the need for a slight increase in daily rates and a larger increase in monthly rates if the goal is to be near the averages of $271,000 or 0.67 per cent in the 2016 budget.
County councilors currently make $600 a month, while the reeve makes $775 per month. Council takes home a per diem of $225 daily to attend meetings and events on behalf of the county.
Coun. Richard Oster said after talking to other councilors that their lives are planned around meeting schedules and for him, his day timer is filled a month in advance and he lets his family know what he can do around those dates.
“I think it’s fair to be compensated for that inconvenience for myself and my family,” said Oster.
Additionally, while in talks with other area councilors about their remuneration, that there were numerous people out there that use the councilor position as a second job.
“We do not want just retired people on this council,” said Oster.
“Dustin (Vossler) you’re an exception, Darcy (Geigle) you’re an exception but rest of us are not working full time. There’s a lot of time commitment.”
He added he is in favour of a remuneration increase because he thinks if council pays more that more people will be knocking on the door for nominations to be on council and treat it as a second income.
However, Coun. Garry Lentz was opposed to any large increase because the rationale of attracting more people after the last election’s 66 per cent turnover has no issues of tracking people.
Furthermore, the possibility of having a small increment increase to keep up with inflation is what he would agree with and that any big increase would attract people for the wrong reasons.
Coun. Ernest Mudie agreed with Lentz on not having a big increase because it could not come at a more atrocious time and should be left up to the next council to decide.
“It’s kind of like the outgoing government goes and spends a whole bunch of money on projects while they still can,” said Mudie.
“I’d go with the cost of living and that’s as far as I’m going because I think we’re reasonably well paid.”
For Coun. Dustin Vossler, who is the youngest on council, said council would not be attracting people for the wrong reasons if it were a $70,000/ year job but compensating people for their time is of benefit.
“I’m a young guy, I don’t have a bunch of physical income,” said Vossler.
“Every little bit helps. I enjoy sitting on here and have for four years. Some days it’s really hard to stop the combine to come here because I have to pay someone to go and sit in there and usually what I’m paying them is way more what I’m making driving here to sit through this meeting.”
Council had a contested vote of 6-3 in favour of an amendment to the remuneration that will see councilors receive $1,000 a month, while the reeve will receive of $1,400 a month and a daily income of $250.
The new remuneration will not take effect until the new council is elected in October.
Property crimes spike in Cypress County
Redcliff RCMP Staff Sgt. Sean Maxwell gave his quarterly report that went from April 1 to June 30. He noted that property crimes spiked from 24 in the previous quarter to 57 in the current quarter.
“We’re laying charges where possible,” said Maxwell.
“Our police dog service have been up here on a regular basis over the last couple of months. We’re working with the Medicine Hat Police Service with regards to some intelligence on what’s going on. What ends up happening is crimes are committed out in Medicine Hat and they’re brought into our area.”
Maxwell noted that an example last week we had stolen truck at the Co-op in Dunmore that led to two arrests and charges.
He added that the RCMP is working with Rural Crime Watch to make sure that people who are in the area are locking their vehicles and taking valuables with them.
PEP resolution- Port of Wild Horse
Council moved to support extending the Port of Wild Horse Border hours of operation to a minimum of 13 hours per day, 365 days per year, and to install electronic data interchange equipment and system to facilitate the processing of commercial traffic 365 days per year, and request that the Government of Alberta designate the ministers of economic development and trade, agriculture and forestry, trade and infrastructure to advocate these same recommendations to the Canada Service Border Agency and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada.