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City council approves increase in remuneration

City council will get a raise in October after an ad hoc committee recommended a $7,500 per year raise for the mayor and a $3,500 per year increase for aldermen.

City council will get a raise in October after an ad hoc committee recommended a $7,500 per year raise for the mayor and a $3,500 per year increase for aldermen.

The mayor’s salary will increase from $62,500 to $70,000 - $46,667 of which is a base salary and $23,333 for travel and general expense allowance. Aldermen’s salaries will go up from $23,500 to $27,000 - $18,000 for base salary and $9,000 for travel and general expense allowance.

The City reviews the remuneration paid to council members every election year.

The outgoing council sets the remuneration for the incoming council. The last time council reviewed its pay was 2007.

The five-member ad hoc committee was comprised of representatives from the local newspapers, a former mayor and two community representatives. The committee reviewed a council remuneration survey of similar sized urban municipalities in Alberta. The municipalities that were surveyed include Brooks, Cochrane, Grande Prairie, Leduc, Medicine Hat, Spruce Grove and St. Albert.

“What was the rationale behind the increase?” asked Alderman Shawn Howard.

Sharon Pollyck, manager of legislative services, said the committee looked at data from communities with lower remuneration and those with higher and took an average to come up with the increase.

“We considered stepping the increase over three years but we thought if there was an economic downturn and council is getting a raise, that would not look very good,” said Pollyck.

“This is very comparable to what you are seeing in larger communities such as Lethbridge and Red Deer.”

The raise will be in effect from October 2010 to October 2013.

City council was informed of new regulations relating to municipal elections.

Bill 9: Local Authorities Election Statutes Amendment Act addresses such areas as self-funded election campaigns, limitations on contributions and campaign disclosure statements.

If a candidate chooses to exclusively self-fund their election campaign for $10,000 or less, they are not required to create a disclosure statement. However, if a candidate receives contributions to their election campaign from a third party, regardless of the amount, they must disclose that information.

Under the new bill, candidate contributions cannot exceed $10,000 in any campaign period and campaign contributions made by any one contributor (other than the candidate) cannot exceed $5,000.

“In a city the size of Airdrie, very few people have large contributions to their election campaign,” said Alderman Marlene Weaver.

“Anyone who might be looking at running could get discouraged because you get to do all this paper work but it is not deductible on your taxes.”

A candidate is now required to open an account at a financial institution in the name of their election campaign and all contributions must be deposited into that account. Receipts must be issued for every contribution and expense.

On or before March 1 following an election, a candidate is required to pay surplus funds exceeding $500 to the municipality. The municipality is required to hold those funds in a trust for the candidate and, if they run in the next election, those funds will be used for their campaign. If the candidate does not run in the next election, they must direct the municipality to donate the money and interest to a registered charitable organization. If a charity is not specified, those funds become the property of the municipality.

For more information about the 2010 municipal election, phone the City of Airdrie at 403-948-8800.

“When you are popular, everyone wants to be your friend.”

That is the reasoning behind City council approving a Twinning/Sister City Policy, July 5.

“As the city continues to grow, administration anticipates that requests will continue and feels it is necessary to set out some specific criteria and guidelines to assist in proper assessment and management of these requests,” said Micheal McAllister, community developer.

The policy creates guidelines within which twinning/sister city or project relationships with other municipalities may be established by the City of Airdrie. Criteria for a twinning partnership includes both cities following similar social well-being practices, having cultural or leisure connections, similar economic goals and visions and demonstrating efforts to improve the quality of life for all of its citizens with respect to the environment.

Communities must also be of similar population size; share historical ties or ethnic and cultural similarities and have similar infrastructure, amenities and geographic location.

Alderman Shawn Howard said another important guideline is public support for the partnerships.

“There needs to be a strong demonstration of community support on both sides,” said Howard. “There needs to be a higher level of community involvement. You can’t force these thing if there is not a group of individuals that is willing to take this forward.”

Council unanimously voted for the policy with Howard’s amendment. Airdrie has had sister city relations with Airdrie, Scotland since 1987, Yuto, Japan since 1995 and Gwacheon, Korea since 1997.

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