At least four Township councillors declined travel allowance

Langley Times surveys Township council to see who signed waiver

AT least four Langley Township  councillors have declined a $340 a month travel allowance (clockwise from top L): Charlie Fox

AT least four Langley Township councillors have declined a $340 a month travel allowance (clockwise from top L): Charlie Fox

At least four Township of Langley councillors have turned down a controversial $340-a-month travel allowance.

The signed waivers accepting or rejecting the allowance were supposed to be turned in to the Township hall Human Resources office by Friday.

Township staff declined to release the responses Monday, citing freedom of information privacy regulations.

However, a Times survey of council shows at least four councillors, David Davis, Charlie Fox, Bob Long and Kim Richter, have turned down the travel allowance and at least two, Steve Ferguson and Grant Ward, have accepted it.

At The Times’ press deadline, Mayor Jack Froese and Councillor Bev Dornan had not responded to The Times’ query.

Councillor Michelle Sparrow said she has still not decided either way and was planning to consider her position over the holiday break.

“I’m going to talk it over with my family,” Sparrow said.

Among those who have decided, the reasons varied.

Ward said he was going to take the allowance because council should follow the recommendations of the independent council remuneration task force that proposed the allowance.

“I think that’s the only right thing to do,” Ward said.

Ferguson said he would be accepting, but plans to donate the money to charity.

Ferguson said he believes some other members of council intended to do the same.

Davis, who declined the allowance, said he is still not comfortable deciding his own pay hike. And he doesn’t think giving the money to a  charity that taxpayers may or may not support is a good idea, either.

“Donating it doesn’t work, because we’re taking it out of the (taxpayer) coffers,” Davis said.

Fox, who turned the allowance down, said members of council already get a break on their travel costs, courtesy of Revenue Canada.

“I think the one-third tax break covers it,” Fox said.

A Revenue Canada interpretation bulletin issued in 1976 (IT-292) states elected municipal officials can avoid paying taxes on up to a third of their annual salary by declaring it to be an “expense allowance” which includes “mileage or other traveling allowance.”

Long said he hasn’t filled out his waiver form yet, but he would be declining “at least for this year” because he doesn’t travel as much as some other members of council.

“I don’t think I need it,” Long said.

Richter said no to the allowance after coming out against the task force call for a proposed pay hike and travel allowance, saying it was too soon after the December 2011 council pay hikes.

“I think we got enough of a raise (then),” said Richter.

It was 12 months ago that the mayor’s annual salary went up by 12.6 per cent and councillor pay rates rose by 19 percent. Those raises took effect when the new council took office in December, 2011.

The waiver form requires the mayor and councillors  to formally accept or reject the travel allowance.

It notes that the travel allowance is a taxable benefit that will be reported on a councillor’s T4.

Any member of council who opts out has the option of changing their mind, the form notes.

“ … I understand that I may request to receive the travel allowance at any time in the future.”

The $340 a month travel allowance adds $4,080 to a councillor’s annual salary of $42,936, an increase of 9.5 per cent.

The mayor’s proposed travel allowance of $850 a month adds $10,200 on top of his salary of $105,456, an increase of 9.7 per cent.

The salary increase recommended by the task force was scaled back, so that there will be no increase next year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The speculation and vacancy tax declaration must be filled out by the end of March. (Black Press Media files)
SVT declaration packages en route to homeowners in Langley

A penalty will apply to those, not exempted, who don’t pay by due date

oOties mini donuts served fresh treats at the grand opening of Lantern Park in Aldergrove last fall. (Special to the Aldergrove Star)
Free oOties mini donuts for Aldergrove residents on Valentines Day

Joti Steeves and the VIP team will bring in the food truck between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Feb. 14

R.E. Mountain Secondary School parent volunteer Lorraine Baldwin and her daughter Jessica visiting the Thompson Rivers University campus in the fall. Jessica is a Grade 12 student at R.E. Mountain Secondary.
Online fundraiser aims to create memorable grad year for Langley students

R.E. Mountain Secondary School targets $10,000 goal for Grade 12 dry grad

The new facility in construction a few months ago. (Critter Care/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Critter Care expands raccoon and skunk care centre

The Langley wildlife care centre takes in injured and orphaned animals

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Most Read