Skip to content

Council pay raise in line

So, Banff’s town council members have entered into the seasonal Christmas spirit by giving themselves a raise.

So, Banff’s town council members have entered into the seasonal Christmas spirit by giving themselves a raise.

While the optics aren’t great, being that the raise comes during the silly season of budget discussions and being that increases in other areas have been quashed by said councillors – we feel it’s about time.

Yes, some councillors feel a raise should have waited until a municipality-wide compensation review is undertaken early next year, but the raise is a relatively miniscule 2.5 per cent. It’s hardly a bank breaker and, given it’s the first raise in four years, suitable.

How many employees in other fields haven’t seen at least a cost of living allowance increase in the past four years?

And, while Mayor Karen Sorensen humbly balked at the prospect of a few dollars more, it’s hard to argue she’s not earning her keep – particularly when her salary (now $35,900) is compared to that of Canmore’s Mayor Ron Casey ($80,200).

Like Canmore, being Banff’s mayor is a full-time occupation, after all. And, while Canmore’s population is larger, we’re not talking village versus metropolis. As mayor, both incumbents are called upon for expertise, they represent their towns provincially and federally, deal with issues related to their peers and administrations, sit on committees, read minutes, travel, cheerlead and lobby, etc.

On a case-by-case basis, is there much difference between being mayor of a town where residents are up in arms about encroachment of chain stores and one where the battle of bunny lovers/haters continues?

As mayor, is it more or less difficult to be at the helm when it comes to land use issues involving increasing housing density within limited parameters or allowing basement suites as affordable housing?

Commercial allotments of property versus a dispute over who should run a climbing wall? How about, as mayor, telling taxpayers the Town has to pull $400,000 from a hat to pay for policing? Easy call?

Does Sorensen put in less than half the effort of Casey? No.

And to say a pay raise may mean more hopefuls throwing their hat into the election ring… we doubt a 2.5 per cent pay increase will result in that. And at least the council raise is happening now, not after the next election, as sometimes happens. A jump to $70,000 might have mayoral hopefuls lining up… $35,900 will not.

Would it have been less objectionable to have an official social media twit on staff? To throw $30,000 at somebody to sit at a computer and pound out Facebook updates and tweet?

If a municipality can throw $50,000 at a temporary ice rink project to support Banff Lake Louise Tourism’s Snow Days project, surely it can toss a few loonies at its elected representatives without a great hue and cry.

Further, we feel that should Banff residents display any degree of outrage over this small raise for council as being a drain on municipal resources, they need look no further than the $100,000-plus their elected representatives were forced to fork over to pay for a staffer ($52,600 YEARLY as opposed to the mayor’s lofty new salary) and a $56,000 vehicle to increase door-to-door garbage pickup to combat those who illegally dump household items at bin locations.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

About the Author: Rocky Mountain Outlook

The Rocky Mountain Outlook is Bow Valley's No. 1 source for local news and events.
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks