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Most councillors don’t get travel allowances
A list prepared for the Langley Township council remuneration task force shows most B.C. municipalities don't pay their councillors a monthly travel allowance.
Councillor Kim Richter released the list on Wednesday, following the Monday (Dec. 3) council vote that approved the task force recommendation of a new $340 a month travel allowance for Township councillors, and an $850 a month travel allowance for the mayor.
The survey of 16 B.C. municipalities found only four of the 16 pay their councillors a monthly car allowance similar to the Township measure.
According to the Township numbers, Delta pays councillors a travel allowance of $864 a month, Coquitlam pays $308, Maple Ridge pays 201.91 and New Westminster pays councillors $133 a month plus a per kilometre rate.
The other communities either paid only a per kilometre rate, or nothing, or, in the case of Victoria and Richmond, allowed use of city-owned vehicles.
Councillors who didn't get a monthly allowance still benefited from a federal tax rule that exempts one-third of their income from taxes by declaring it to be an "expense allowance" which includes "mileage or other traveling allowance."
The same list shows a majority of mayors in the sample of municipalities received travel allowances, 10 of the 16.
The Township list did not include the City of Langley, which does not pay a monthly travel allowance to councillors or the mayor, or Surrey where the mayor gets a travel allowance but the councillors do not (they get a per-km mileage payment).
The Township list also did not include the city of Vancouver, where the mayor and council members have the option of receiving a portion of their annual budget as a monthly transportation allowance or paying for transportation expenses such as taxi fares and public transit from their annual budget as they are incurred.
The Township of Langley council remuneration task force based the travel allowance on the amount collected by a provincial MLA in an "urban riding" then giving the mayor 80 per cent of that amount and councillors 40 per cent.
"Most positions in the both the public and private sectors fund transportation costs if this is a significant cost of performing the job," the task force stated in a Nov. 26 report to Township council.
For the councillors, the new $340 a month travel allowance on top of their salary of $42,936 adds $4,080 to their overall compensation, an increase of 9.5 per cent.
The $850 a month allowance for mayor Jack Froese amounts to another $10,200 on top of his salary of $105,456, an increase of 9.7 per cent.
The mayor has noted the travel allowance is not mandatory and council members who object to it may refuse.
The 16 cities listed in the Township survey:
Abbotsford (Mayor gets car allowance, councillors don't)
Chilliwack (Tax-deductible one-third is an allowance for "expenses related to official duties')
Coquitlam (Mayor and councillors get car allowance)
Delta (Mayor and councillors get car allowance)
Maple Ridge (Mayor and councillors get car allowance)
Port Coquitlam (Mayor gets car allowance, councillors don't)
Kamloops (Mayor gets car allowance, councillors get mileage)
Kelowna (Mayor gets car allowance, councillors get mileage)
Nanaimo (No monthly allowances for mayor or councillors)
New Westminster (Mayor gets car allowance, councillors get allowance and mileage)
North Vancouver City (Mayor gets car allowance, councillors get mileage)
Port Moody (No monthly allowance)
Prince George (Mayor gets car allowance, councillors don't)
Richmond (Mayor gets use of city vehicle, councillors don't)
Saanich (No monthly allowances for mayor or councillors)
Victoria (Mayor and councillors gets use of city vehicles)
Not on the list:
City of Langley (No monthly allowances for mayor or councillors)
Surrey (Mayor gets car allowance, councillors get mileage)
Vancouver (Mayor and council has option of either "monthly transportation allowance" or trip-by-trip compensation)