‘We have to be treated fair, but not richly’: South Dundas council pay under review

South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

MORRISBURG – South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds has asked councillors to reflect on what they are paid to serve the municipality and put the proposed changes in writing.

A committee of council ran out of time Thursday to discuss council remuneration after taking three hours talking about municipal zoning for cannabis, a short-term rental policy, as well as joint tenders and speed limits.

“Analyze how you think you should be remunerated by South Dundas for your workload. See if it’s fair. If you see there’s holes, suggest some ways of dealing with the holes,” Byvelds instructed councillors.

A report from the municipal clerk suggests a number of minor changes, including no more reimbursement for “social functions.” Also in the changes are flat rate reimbursement for overnight stays to a maximum of three nights, instead of four.

The proposed special meeting for committee of the whole meeting rate would be $75 for up to four hours and the per diem rate for over four hours. Extracurricular meetings, described as meetings that “arise from regular/special or committee meeting(s) that advances the business of the municipality” would be $25 per hour.

The mayor believes there’s work to do on the file.

“I see some challenges. In fact, that’s my list,” Byvelds said, holding up a piece of paper. “So don’t go and say it’s perfect because I think that’s fooling ourselves a bit.”

While social work has gone away because of COVID-19, the mayor says some on council have ended up working “a lot more because of what’s happened. We have to find a balance.”

“I’m in the opinion we have to be treated fair but not richly. You got to keep in mind, we’re the cheapest person at the table most of the time and if our input’s valuable, it should be at least looked at in that regard,” Byvelds said.

The mayor doesn’t expect anything to be changed before the end of the year and will likely come up at 2021 budget time.

The most recent remuneration report for 2019 shows Byvelds was paid a $27,858 honorarium, plus benefits, meetings and sundry expenses, for a total of $40,133 last year.

Deputy Mayor Kirsten Gardner had a $17,165 honorarium and with add-ons made $24,454.

Couns. Lloyd Wells, Don Lewis and Archie Mellan had a $13,826 honorarium each. With their benefits, payment for meetings and sundry expenses, they cleared between $20,000 and $22,000.