City of Penticton CAO Peter Weeber, speaking to a group that rallied outside of city hall on April 5, says he isn’t concerned the annual statement of financial information shows his pay scale is lower than his predecessor. File photo

Penticton councillor salaries up by five per cent

Cost of running a city continues to rise

Penticton’s city councillors managed their personal expenses better in 2016 than 2015, but their salaries grew considerably.

Overall, taxpayers paid elected the mayor and seven councillors $202,935 in 2016, up from $186,908 in 2015. That’s about an 8.6 per cent increase.

On the other hand, councillors cut about 20 per cent from their expenses, with the total dropping to $19,712 from a high of $24,668 in 2015. Taken together, that’s an increase of about five per cent in the tax dollars going to mayor and council.

Overall, employee remuneration rose about 1.4 per cent – $225,405 increase in salaries and $79,798 increase in expenses. That includes 97 employees whose salaries exceed the $75,000 threshold requiring individual reporting.

According to controller Angela Campbell, 11 employees were added to that category in 2016. That includes former chief administrative officer Eric Sorenson, who received $190,651.84 in 2016 in salary.

That’s higher than the $171,954 the prior CAO Annette Antoniak was paid in her last year, 2014 and considerably higher than the $160,000 the current CAO Peter Weeber is paid.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said Weeber is scheduled for an increase in July and again at the end of the year.

Weeber said he isn’t concerned about the disparity in pay.

“I think municipal salaries are pretty consistent across British Columbia and Penticton is one of the more competitive organizations. We don’t pay as much as other people,” said Weeber, joking about the “very small” increases. “My first consideration when taking any job is not financial. It’s what we or I can add to a community or a team and that’s a big consideration. I don’t worry about money.”