Council costs have risen

Council pay in Norfolk will increase noticeably in 2019 thanks to tax changes imposed by the federal government.For many years, municipal politicians in Ontario were allowed to collect one-third of their salary tax free. This had the effect of keeping gross pay low while providing for a larger than expected net-pay at the end of the year.When the tax break was approved, the idea was that it would help compensate for routine expenses municipal politicians incur in the course of their duties. That changed Jan. 1.In anticipation of the elimination of the tax break, the former Norfolk council voted last summer to increase gross pay to compensate for the extra amount Ottawa was collecting for itself.In a report on Norfolk council remuneration that will be tabled at Tuesday’s meeting, Tammy Murphy, a reconciliation accounting analyst with the treasury department, said salaries and benefits to council members this year will rise $78,000.Murphy’s report includes an accounting of council pay and expenses last year. Total council wages and expenses in 2018 came to $374,386.At the top of the list was former mayor Charlie Luke. He earned $72,932 last year while claiming expenses of $9,909.Pay and expenses for his council colleagues were as follows:Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus: $33,521 ($3,693 in expenses). Simcoe Coun. Peter Black: $34,842 ($2,486 in expenses). Windham Coun. Jim Oliver: $34,623 ($126 in expenses). Simcoe Coun. Doug Brunton: $33,433 (no expenses claimed). Port Rowan Coun. Noel Haydt: $32,356 ($844 in expenses). Langton Coun. Roger Geysens: $32,486 (no expenses claimed). Port Dover Coun. John Wells: $31,636 (no expenses claimed). Waterford Coun. Harold Sonnenberg: $29,779 (no expenses claimed). The council elected in October was sworn in early December so there is some overlap between the new council and the former council.The six new councillors elected last fall – Kim Huffman, Amy Martin, Tom Masschaele, Ian Rabbitts, Ryan Taylor and Chris VanPaassen – each collected $2,943 by the end of 2018.For her part, new mayor Kristal Chopp collected $6,361.Murphy’s report contains an accounting of boards and committees that Norfolk council members and appointees sit on. Some of these are paid positions.Columbus collected an additional $8,206 last year as chair of the Long Point Region Conservation Authority. Councillors on the LPRCA also collected per diems and expenses. They were Couns. Brunton ($2,577 in total),  Geysens ($2,288) and Haydt ($2,094).Three Norfolk appointees to the Norfolk Polices Services Board were also remunerated. They are Carol Greentree of Simcoe ($5,441), David Murphy of Port Dover ($5,425) and former chair Peter Hellyer of Simcoe ($5,386).Membership on Norfolk’s committee of adjustment is also a paid position. The report says former chair Rick Barker collected $3,161 while members Dan Ciona, Larry Dawson, Eric Gilbert, Rudy Stickl, Dennis Tschirhart and Marcel Vanhooren earned between $2,400 and $1,846 depending on attendance and expenses.Susie Huyge was paid $1,000 for her service to the Delhi BIA Board of Management. Jeff Miller of Port Dover claimed $1,620 as president of the Haldimand-Norfolk Housing Corporation. Hagersville Coun. Tony Dalimonte claimed $1,874 in expenses as a member of Haldimand and Norfolk’s Health and Social Services Advisory Board.MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

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