THE normally calm discussions at Terrace council meetings boiled over into heated debate last night as several hot button topics came up – some proceeding through to resolution and others lingering to be tackled at a later date.
One contentious item was how much City of Terrace councilors should be paid and council passed a resolution to broaden a task force charged with reviewing council’s remuneration before the coming elections.
The motion was to add a not-for-profit and a citizen representative to the committee that will decide if mayor and council will get their pay bumped.
This is on top of the recommended representatives from the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce, the Terrace-Kitimat Labour Council, and a previous mayor or councillor.
The task force will report their review at the June 23, 2014 Regular Council meeting.
Terrace councillors earned $12,229 in 2013 and their pay is adjusted annually based on the B.C. Consumer Price Index.
The mayor’s salary is approximately $32,600, a sum that has risen by more than $5,000 over the past three years based on a formula decided by a task force and agreed to by council in 2011.
Not all councillors are in favour of a pay increase however it is the new task force which will decide.
Mayor Dave Pernarowski said Terrace could be better served by a full time mayor, saying other towns the same size as Terrace do that and the speed of change in the area requires the full attention that an extended position would allow.
He said the issue should be looked at before the current term expires and council terms increase from three years to four as of this November’s local government elections.
“I think as a council we are going to have to look at the next four years. What’s going to happen in this region is just going to be incredible. We haven’t even seen the beginning yet. And for us to continue to … to ‘plow along’ … for us to plow along is just not adequate at this point in time,” Pernarowski said.
Elected first to council in a 2007 byelection, Pernarowski served one year before defeating long time mayor Jack Talstra in 2008. He was re-elected in 2011 but has yet to say if he will run again this fall.
He spoke to the challenge of juggling the mayoral workload with life commitments including a large family and the need to secure adequate supplemental income from employers who may not always be flexible to the extracurricular commitments of a mayor employee.
“It’s not that I am saying it’s ‘so hard’. I love doing this work and I think the next person who sits in this chair will love it the same way, and they will want to focus on it, on making Terrace a better place. I don’t think we can wait four more years for that decision to happen,” said Pernarowski.