The next City council elected a year from now will be paid more.
Council voted Tuesday four to two in favour of increases that boost the mayor's and councillors' pay by almost $10,000 a year. The pro-pay-hike votes were from councillors Nelly Dever, Donovan Cavers, Arjun Singh and Nancy Bepple.
Opposed were councillors Ken Christian and Tina Lange. Mayor Peter Milobar and councillors Pat Wallace and Marg Spina were not present.
Council agreed to recommendations from a seven-member volunteer citizens' task force that will put the mayor's pay at $85,754 from the current $74,434.
Councillors will be paid 35 per cent of the mayor's salary in 2015, 37.5 per cent in 2016 and 40 per cent in 2017. They are currently paid $24,811 and by 2017 they will get $34,301.
Lange voted against the salary structure because she felt councillors should go straight to being paid 40 per cent of the mayor's rate.
"We were discussing six cents per month per household," she said.
While some councillors felt the stepped increase might soften the financial blow, Lange did not.
"I don't consider it a blow," she said, adding she's not sure if she'll be running for council again to take advantage of the pay jump.
In total, the increases will cost taxpayers $87,243 per year, or $1.65 per year for an average-assessed home of $348,000.
Christian said even if the other council members had been at the meeting, he would have expected the increase to pass. He might have had a couple more supporters.
"I think it is too rich," he said.
He did like the fact the recommendation was for the increase to go into effect with the next City council. Six months ago, the current council approved a four-per-cent tax hike — the biggest in a decade, he said.
"My concern was the timing."
Bepple made the motion to accept the recommendation with the stepped councilor increases.
She said it didn't serve the public well to nitpick over a few per cent.
"Do we want to make a change to how councils of the future are compensated? I say yes," she said.
Dever noted that the staggered increase for councillors will save $51,000 over going to the straight 40 per cent in 2015.
"I prefer to soften it," she said.
After the vote passed, the chairman of the citizens' task force said the recommendation really came from the community and surveys that the members took.
"It wasn't our decision. We found out what the community wanted," he said.
Singh also put forward a motion to rescind the increase to councillors' remuneration approved last spring when the pay-rate debate first arose.
They were slated to go from $24,811 to almost $26,000 as of Jan. 1, 2014.
Singh said he heard from the committee that residents wanted the increase to go into effect with the next council, so he wanted the upcoming boost gone.
Lange said it's $900 a year, so the amount wasn't a big difference.
The vote to rescind was unanimous.
Hasanen said the committee logged five formal meetings and 140 hours to come up with the raise formula.
It calls for the salaries of mayors in 14 B.C. communities to be averaged, after taking out the highest and lowest.
Because this council has expressed an interest in being below the average, the mayor of Kamloops will get 90 per cent of the average of those remaining 12 communities.
"The difficulty of this is politics is not a business. How do we as a task force establish the value of a politician?" he said.
Hasanan said of the people surveyed at various public events, most reactions were that they didn't care, or they were strongly in favour of compensation being in the average range, or that an increase wasn't appropriate.