Vancouver Mayor wants to raise to councillors' discretionary budgets by 400%

Jan 29 2019, 6:43 pm

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart would like his city councillors to receive better compensation in the form of more cash for the work they do when it comes to public service.

That’s the idea behind a motion introduced by Stewart which City Council is set to vote on during a council meeting Tuesday night.

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If approved, the motion would see each councillors’ discretionary budget increase from $6,000 to $30,000 annually.

Noting that councillors receive “high volumes” of communications from the public, as well as requests to meet and requests for “help on constituency issues,” Stewart writes that the current allotted amount is “insufficient to contract the services needed to meet constituency needs and ensure timely response to public communications and requests for help.”

Stewart also cites a staff report from June 2016, which recommended that councillors receive a discretionary fund of $6,000 per year to carry out “constituency activities.”

These activities include things like “communication expenses, fees for consulting or other contracted services, cost of research and information gathering, and costs of community outreach and events.”

The $6,000 budget to do such work is “insufficient,” especially when held up against other major Canadian cities, writes Stewart. “For example Toronto, due to the decrease in number of Councillors from 44 to 25, just increased the budget for each councillor from $241,000 to $482,000 for their constituency work.”

In addition, the mayor says, “communications from the public, including requests for help on issues, have increased with the election of the new City Council in October of 2018.”

The motion call for each Councillor’s fund to be increased to the new $30,000 amount “immediately.”