Photo: Staff of Castanet
The City of Kamloops paid its staff a total of $66.6 million in 2021, six per cent more than in 2020, with the city saying the increase was largely due to the easing of restrictions in the event of a pandemic.
Jenifer McCarthy, the city’s accounting supervisor, presented the 2021 statement of financial information to council at its June 28 meeting.
McCarthy told the council that the increase – which amounts to around $4 million – appears to be high, but due to the 2020 pandemic restrictions, many city services have been closed or reduced.
As restrictions eased, recreation and Kamloops Fire Rescue operations expanded, resulting in increased labor costs.
“The comparison of pre-pandemic salaries in 2019 and 2021 shows a 3% increase between the two years. This increase is what is expected in a normal year,” McCarthy said.
According to the SOFI report, city management received approximately $12 million in compensation in 2021 — which includes regular wages, overtime, vehicle allowances, taxable benefits and other payments. This represents an increase of 8% from 11.4 million in 2020.
Kamloops Fire Rescue and International Association of Fire Fighters leadership received approximately $15 million, up 5.8% from 2020. Canadian Union of Public Employees program staff and instructors ( CUPE) received $39 million.
According to the SOFI report, the city uses a formula to establish the mayor’s compensation as a percentage based on similar municipalities, while councilors’ compensation is set as a percentage of the mayor’s.
According to the report, Mayor Ken Christian’s total income was $115,668 in 2021, while most councilors earned $41,707. Com. Sadie Hunter’s total income was $40,152.
In total, board compensation was just over $431,000 in 2021.
The report shows the total amount spent by the mayor and council in 2021 was $1,676 – $1,523 was spent by the council. Arjun Singh and the advisor. Mike O’Reilly spent $152. The other seven council members did not submit any expenses.
When taking into account the salaries of councils in other cities of similar size, the mayor and council of Kamloops are paid similarly, if not slightly less.
The city of Nanaimo — with a population of about 100,000, according to the federal government’s 2021 census — paid its mayor nearly $116,000 in 2021, and just under $45,000 per councilor, according to the Nanaimo 2021 SOFI report.
The Nanaimo report says the total amount spent on a nine-person council was $15,277 in 2021, with councilor spending ranging from $716 to $2,572.
The city of Chilliwack, with a population of about 93,000 at the 2021 census, paid its mayor $122,181 last year. Advisors received approximately $43,900.
According to a report by City of Chilliwack staff, expenses for a seven-person council totaled $12,029 in 2021, with each council member spending between $1,243 and $2,162.
According to the SOFI report, about 13.8% of vendors used by the city incurred charges over $25,000 in 2021, compared to 14.3% in 2020.
The top 10 vendors – including payments for the RCMP, BC Transit, employee benefits and work on council-approved capital projects – accounted for nearly 55% of the city’s overall spending.
According to the report, the city spent $20.5 million on RCMP services, $15.2 million on benefits, $11.7 million on operating costs, including utilities and public transit, and $27.5 million for council-approved capital costs.
“Some of these projects included, but were not limited to, Tranquille Road Upgrade, McArthur Island Road Upgrade and [the] Summit Drive multi-use trail,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said the report includes expenses that are recoverable from other agencies, such as costs related to the work of the emergency operations center and emergency support services, which have increased due to wildfires and floods last year.
According to the city, many of these costs will be recovered from the province, with claims currently awaiting finalization.
Mayor Ken Christian thanked the Finance Division for preparing the annual report.
“This is, again, part of our annual community responsibility in terms of City of Kamloops spending, and I encourage them to go see this and digest as they please,” Christian said.
The City of Kamloops SOFI report can be found here.