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Kelowna councillors given option to opt out of pay raise until next term – Okanagan

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City councillors in Kelowna, B.C., are voting Monday to usher in an immediate pay increase for themselves, though they could opt out until next term.

According to a report headed to council on Monday, if they all vote in favour of a pay hike, the mayor’s annual salary will immediately grow to $135,848.65 from $126,497, while a councillor’s wage will rise to $50,535.57 from $42,992.

As of Jan. 1, 2025, the mayor’s wage will rise to $145,200, while councillors’ wages will increase to $58,080.

Following the general local election in 2026, an adjustment will be made twice per council term to realign the mayor’s pay with the 60th percentile of other like-sized B.C. municipalities. Councillors’ wages will be pegged at 40 per cent of the mayor’s.

This will take place in years one and three of the council term, following annual municipal reports being published at the end of June.

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Kelowna mayor, council to receive pay increase


When this first came to council, and the majority said they were eager for the pay increase, there was some awkwardness in voting on their own taxpayer-funded wage.


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The prevailing sentiment is that the job has grown alongside the city and requires a lot of time, and the wage needs to increase to attract and retain new people.

Only three city councillors — Gord Lovegrove, Mohini Singh and Rick Webber — voted against increasing their own wages by 35 per cent.

Since then, a way to opt out has been made available.

“A current council member may choose not to receive the increase by informing the City Clerk in writing within 30 days of adoption of this bylaw,” the report reads.

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“They would remain at the pre-adjustment 2024 remuneration for the remainder of this Council term. All members of council will receive the new remuneration after the 2026 election.”

Kelowna city council’s decision to usher in a pay raise for themselves while their constituents are “struggling” to make ends meet is unacceptable, B.C.’s director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said in a recent interview.

“Normal families in Kelowna are really struggling right now,” Carson Binda said.

“Every month, the Central Okanagan Food Bank in Kelowna is seeing a record-breaking 9,000 visits. The median rent in Kelowna has gone up eight per cent in the last year; it’s now more than $2,200 a month.”

The current rental cost in Kelowna is pegged at 15 per cent higher than the national average, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

“When normal families are having a tough time keeping a roof over their heads, when they’re coming to visit the food bank just to feed their kids, it’s unacceptable for politicians to be giving themselves a huge pay raise,” Binda said.

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#Kelowna #councillors #option #opt #pay #raise #term #Okanagan

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