Staffing costs for the city of Penticton are up for the second year in a row, showing more than a 10 per cent increase in 2015 over the previous year.
According to the 2015 Statement of Financial Information, total staff salaries, including expenses, rose to $21,239,213 in 2015, an 11.1 per cent increase over $19,119,735 in 2014.
That also includes an increased number of staff earning more than $75,000, up 16 from the 70 staff members in 2014 to exceed the reporting cutoff for the annual report.
Ten of those are due to salary increases, according to Tina Lee, the city’s communications officer, and a variety of reasons account for the other six.
“Only two of those are new positions altogether. Two were on maternity leave, so they didn’t show up on the 2014 list and two had larger training expenses, which put them on the list for 2015,” said Lee.
Collective agreements, like the Penticton firefighters who settled their long running contract dispute with the city in 2015, account for a portion of the overall salary increase.
In fact, firefighters account for some of the highest paid people on the city payroll last year, with the three top positions on the list with two fire captains and an assistant chief receiving more than $159,000 each.
By contrast, Mitch Moroziuk, general manager of infrastructure, was the highest paid administrator on the list at $155,792.
Staff members weren’t the only ones drawing more from city coffers.
Altogether, the six city councillors and Mayor Jakubeit were paid $21,576, including $24,668 in expenses.
That’s 8.3 per cent higher than 2014, when the total was $195,268, including $17,318 in expenses. The bill for council actually decreased in 2013 and 2014, before rising again in 2015.
While council’s overall expenses are up, they are still less than the $32,739 mayor and council billed the city in 2013. For his first full year in the centre seat, Mayor Andrew Jakubeit billed $5,657 in expenses, $658 less than Garry Litke’s $6,315 in 2014.