London city hall: Task force recommends ward councilors each get 30% raise starting next term

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City politicians may be in for a significant pay bump — to the tune of more than $10,000 each – starting next term.

A task force that reviewed the pay of London’s 14 ward councillors recommends their wage be in line with what an average Londoner makes, tied to the median employment income.

In 2011 that number was $47,805, and more recent numbers are expected this fall.

London city councillors currently make about $36,000, one of the lowest rates across the province. Ottawa councillors were paid $99,695 in 2016 while those in Kitchener brought in $47,464.

The recommended raise would be more than 30 per cent, with the task force advising that it would come into effect for the next council term, or after the 2018 civic election.

Future changes to the pay rate should be set far in advance of council nominations “to depoliticize” the issue, the task force recommended.

The mayor’s pay, roughly $100,000 annually, was excluded from the review.

The task force also recommended scrapping the confusing longtime practice of giving a one-third tax break to ward councillors, and ending London’s practice of topping up the pay of politicians that chair committees.

Councillors’ pay should be examined once per council term in the future, the task force advised.

Council must approve any raise it receives, a politically awkward situation. The recommendation first goes to council’s strategic priorities and policy committee this Monday.

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