The Mayor of Russell Township has been crunching numbers lately and suggests changing how the salaries are calculated for United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) council.

At the October 9 Committee of the Whole meeting, Pierre Leroux suggested paying each mayor who sits on UCPR council based on an amount per resident.  According to the 2016 census, the population of the counties was 89,333, and each regular council member receives $22,124.40 annually, which is 25 cents per resident.  The warden receives $43,779.46 per year, which is 49 cents per resident.

Leroux said that adjusting council remuneration to an amount based on population would take the controversy out of politicians setting their own salaries.

“It takes the politics out of looking at it,” he said.

Currently, municipalities often set council pay rates based on what other jurisdictions have decided.  Leroux said a 2017 report by the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario questioned if that is a good practice to follow.

“There’s no set standard,” he said.

Leroux is also presenting his idea to Russell Township council for how it determines municipal council remuneration.

Hawkesbury Mayor Paula Assaly said there is a lot of disparity related to how council members are paid across Ontario.

She said the roles of mayors and councillors are evolving and that they are dedicating a considerable amount of time to their responsibilities.

“The hours are extremely long,” said Assaly.

Alfred-Plantagenet Mayor Stéphane Sarrazin noted that some council members have other careers and businesses from which they also earn income.

The feasibility of Leroux’s suggestion to have council remuneration determined by an amount per-person by population will be included in the UCPR 2020 budget process.