The financial package for future Vernon politicians is being expanded.
It’s been decided by current council that while those elected Nov. 15 will not get a raise, they will be able to access benefits for the first time ever.
“We’re always talking about attracting younger people,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham in support of benefits, including medical, dental and disability.
“Some people have to take away time from their business (to be on council). It’s one way to balance out the inequities for the time invested.”
Mayor Rob Sawatzky, who is not seeking re-election, supports the addition of taxable benefits for elected officials.
“We need to make it less difficult and less costly for people to step up,” he said.
“There are financial impediments to running for elected office. This is one less opportunity for people to turn the opportunity down.”
Pensions are not included in the benefits package, but Sawatzky says the other financial incentives may encourage someone to plan for retirement.
“You can fund a private pension because there’s less financial drag on you,” he said.
Opposition came from Coun. Bob Spiers, who says benefits for council could increase city coasts by $40,000 a year.
“It seems like a heck of a change all in one year,” he said.