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Calgary mayor, city council criticized for 2.41% raise to start 2024


Calgary’s mayor and city council are getting an automatic 2.41 per cent wage increase this year.

Amid higher fuel taxes, soaring utility prices, costly groceries and a spike in property taxes for many Calgarians, some are arguing that council should not have received the raise.

“This is something they knew was coming, they also knew that Albertans are really struggling with affordability and there are increased costs that have hit them,” Lori Williams, a public policy professor at Mount Royal University, said.

A few years ago, the city council at the time put the wage increase decision into the hands of an independent committee, which takes Albertan’s average weekly earnings into account.

“It’s a result of that committee’s work back in 2020 that this increase is being proposed,” Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said.

The mayor’s new salary is $213,000, while city councillors will make $120,000.

In November, city council approved a 7.8 per cent residential property tax increase. That increase is one reason why former Calgary alderman John Schmal sent a letter in December asking for council to call off the automatic raise.

“It’s very irresponsible. They keep increasing the cost of living to live in a home. They should not be getting an increase based on their performance,” Schmal said.

This year marks the third straight year of increases for the mayor and council, and follows three straight years where the previous mayor and council decided not to take raises.

“It is symbolic because every dollar they earn comes from taxpayers,” Williams said.

Some councillors are split on the raise.

“When compared to our peers at the provincial and federal levels based on population represented and workloads, I believe our compensation is fair,” Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner said in a statement.

Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean disagrees with the increase after delivering another tough budget.

“Three tax hikes, three pay raises, so I believe that a council that keeps raising taxes probably doesn’t deserve a pay raise,” McLean said.

Gondek said it’s not too late to make changes if that’s what council decides.

“I’m absolutely open to doing something different but I want to hear from my colleagues. I also think it’s really important to hear from the members of that committee,” Gondek said.

Council meets for the first time this year on Jan. 16, where this issue is expected to come up.

The mayor said she has contacted council to get their perspective and wants to make sure members of the public know the details as well. Top Stories

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