Gas milage paid to Wetaskiwin County employees was raised $0.02 from $0.50 per kilometer to $0.52 per kilometer after the increase was approved by council at it’s Jan. 12 meeting.
During a strategic planning session held in November of last year county administration investigated whether Wetaskiwin County’s rates were staying in line with other municipalities in the area.
In 2016 Revenue Canada is paying its employees $0.54 per kilometer for the first 5,000 kilometers and $0.49 per kilometer afterwards.
The City of Wetaskiwin and County of Leduc also pay $0.54 per kilometer. The Town of Millet pays $0.51 and the counties of Beaver and Clearwater pay $0.55, according to the Wetaskiwin County issue summary report.
“These were all before the end of December so I don’t know if they’ve been adjusted”, said Grace French, directer of finance.
“Based on the amount of mileage that was paid in 2015, an increase of $0.04 a kilometer would amount to approximately $8,000,” she added.
French says based on a breakdown, approximately $4,480 of that increase would go to Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), $2,880 to council and $640 to staff administration.
Coun. Keith Johnson was concerned with fuel prices. “I just don’t know if we should be increasing our mileage rates.”
Coun. Larry McKeever was also in favour of keeping the rates the same. He says years ago the county was paying $1.20 per kilometer but for the last 10 to 15 years it has been kept at $0.50.
He made a motion on the idea in which he, Johnson and Coun. Garry Dearing voted in favour of. However, councillors Terry Van de Kraats, Lyle Seely, Pearl Hay and Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers were opposed.
Rooyakkers says her main concern is the FCSS staff. “When you’re taking in this mileage rate it isn’t just for gas, it’s for all the wear and tear on your vehicle.”
“These are people, and you’ve got to remember, on the lowest end of our pay scale as well,” she added.
Dearing asked how FCSS salaries compared to other municipalities, in the name of staying competitive.
“I don’t have that information off hand. I would say we’re probably a little short there,” said CAO Frank Coutney.
Van de Kraats made the motion to split the difference for the $0.02 increase, which was approved unanimously.