Whistler's next council is getting a pay rise.
The decision to boost the mayor and councillors' salaries after the next election comes on the same evening as council considered the annual Statements of Financial Information (SOFI) showing that 86 muni hall workers made more than $75,000 in 2013, up by nine from the previous year.
Municipal CAO Mike Furey explained that jump as an anomaly, a reflection of last year's staff-wage contract that included pay increases from 2012-2015 — the retroactive pay for 2012 and the 2013 increase are reflected in the SOFI report.
"It was the year in which we settled our wages," explained Furey. "Eight of those nine (employees on the list) are in roles that are paid less than $75,000. So, if they had only received regular pay they would not have pushed that $75,000 mark.
"There wasn't a big jump."
Twenty-seven employees topped the $100,000 list or more, up two from the previous year.
This was the same report that last year Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said could be read in a "superficial and gossipy" manner — an alphabetical list of civil servants earning more than $75,000.
Still, it is legislated for every local government to submit a SOFI report to the province within six months of the end of the fiscal year.
Total municipal salaries — including Employment Insurance, Canada Pensions Plan, health benefits and taxes, and taxable benefits — paid by taxpayers, increased by more than $453,000 from the 2012 report to a total of $25 million.
In addition to council and staff remuneration, the SOFI report also shows the alphabetical list of suppliers who were paid more than $25,000 during the year, including payments to the RCMP, Whistler Blackcomb for day lot maintenance including snow clearing ($492,000) and various event organizers.
In total, total supplier payments were more than $37 million, down from $44 million in the last report.
The numbers are not necessarily a true reflection of costs — the SOFI legislation requires a list of payments during the report year, which may be different than the year in which the expense was incurred.
Mayor and Council
Effective January 2015, councillors will get a $1,335 boost from $31,437 to $32,772 — an increase of 4.2 per cent.
The increase is based on the average remuneration of council in six comparative municipalities in the Lower Mainland, namely: the City of North Vancouver, City of Port Moody, City of White Rock, the District of Maple Ridge, City of Langley and City of Port Coquitlam.
The average mayor's salary however, based on the same comparisons, is $83,783. That's $6,155 more than the current mayor's salary of $77,628 — an increase of 7.9 per cent.
Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden asked council to consider a mayor's salary increase at the same level of the councillors increase — 4.2 per cent, or $80,927.
"First of all, it seemed like a reasonable increase," she explained. "To take a 7.9 per cent increase seemed a little over the top given what people are negotiating and settling with these days. If the councillors are taking a 4.2 per cent increase, which seems reasonable, then it would make sense that the mayor would too."
Council has also turned down cost of living wage increases each year throughout this term in office.
There was shake up at the highest level at municipal hall this year and those changes are reflected in the SOFI report.
Two employees passed the $150,000 mark in 2013 — CAO Mike Furey at $209,000 and Jan Jansen, general manager of resort experience at $183,000.
Last year's list had four staff members making more than $150,000 — Bob MacPherson, general manager of community life, who left the organization in 2013, and Keith Bennett, the CEO of Whistler Sports Legacies. Bennett retired in 2012 and his replacement, Roger Soane, is now paid by Whistler Sports Legacies.
MacPherson's replacement is Norm McPhail, who joined the organization this year and, as such, is not on the list.
There are two sizable jumps in salary in the 2013 report.
Bob Andrea, manager of village animation, was listed as $108,000 in remuneration in 2012; that number was listed at $142,000 in 2013. That's a difference of more than $33,000. Similarly, Jan Jansen was listed at $154,000 in 2012. That number was $183,000 in 2013, a difference of more than $29,000.
That far outstrips the negotiated wage contract increases of 1.25 per cent for 2012 and 1.75 per cent for 2013.
Year-over-year changes to remuneration in the SOFI report, explained Furey, may be due to payments of accrued vacation, statutory and other deductions and sick amounts. It could also include "acting" pay.
"Someone might be acting in a position for a period of time... and receive a higher rate of pay," he said.
Legal costs were much lower this year compared to the more than $3 million that was spent in 2012. That included a $1.5 million interest payment to the Saxton family in Vancouver for the decades-old settlement of the Rainbow Park expropriation case.
The SOFI report also highlights the growing face of events in the resort.
For example, brand.LIVE Management Group shows a payment for $338,000 in the latest report compared to $206,000 the previous year. The company puts on the free municipal concerts at Whistler Olympic Plaza. A large part of the 2013 payment, $94,500, was a pre-payment for 2014.
There is a $140,000 payment to the Tough Mudder event and a $207,000 payment to Ironman. Neither of those existed in the 2012 SOFI report.
Ironman has a $250,000 contract with the municipality for five years.
Furey explained the $43,000 difference between the Ironman contract and the payment; the municipality is involved in extra clean up after the event and traffic management. "We would have paid that to ourselves," he said.
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra received $293,000; more than double what it received the year before ($140,000 in 2012). The bulk of this increase was also due to a pre-payment for 2014 in 2013.