Newmarket mayor, deputy mayor getting pay raise
Under town policy, Mayor John Taylor is to receive an additional $12,042, or 7.4% hike; Deputy Mayor Tom Vegh will see his pay increase by 12.3% or $14,719
March 29, 2023
Newmarket taxpayers will be paying their mayor and deputy mayor more this year after council opted to give them a pay bump in line with town policy.
Mayor John Taylor stands to have a 7.4 per cent pay increase to $174,261, including the York Region remuneration of $61,152. Deputy Mayor Tom Vegh will see his pay increase by 12.3 per cent to a total of $134,318, including the same remuneration. Council committee of the whole voted in favour of the staff-recommended proposal March 27.
It has been some years since the last pay raise, Taylor said, adding voting for such an increase is "a little bit awkward."
“That there have been a number of times where pay increases were deferred," he said. “It’s not surprising that, eventually, we’re going to discover that we’re at the low-end of the pay range.”
The move comes after an environmental scan of comparator municipalities, with the last one having been done in 2017. Staff examined 13 similar municipalities, including Barrie, Aurora, Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan, to find Newmarket paid its mayor the least. The deputy mayor position was paid less than three of the five municipalities with a regional councillor job. Both salaries were below the town policy of paying 66.67 per cent of the market rate.
In total, the increase amounts to $12,042 more for Taylor and $14,719 for Vegh.
Vegh said the town does have a solid policy to govern this, but recognized how some feel about politician pay raises.
“I’m very aware that there are some people in our community that feel we should never have a raise. There are some people, perhaps a smaller number, that feel we’re overpaid,” he said. “We’ve chosen to contribute to our communities, lead our communities, so I’m comfortable where we’ve landed. It’s something we did put off in the last term, and the only result of that is the gap gets a little bit bigger.”
The same scan found that other council members are paid higher than seven of eight municipalities with part-time councillors, with the current pay rate above the market line. As such, staff recommended no adjustment to councillor pay, which is at $52,191. The 66.67 per cent of market line amount would be $44,000.
The move comes with a 5.5 per cent municipal property tax rate increase going forward this year, driven in large part by inflation. But Taylor said in an email to NewmarketToday that the amount of the increase, $26,761, is not material in relation to an approximately $200-million budget.
The municipality reviews council pay in the third year of a term, though it experienced pandemic-related delays in the last term. A similar policy is used for staff, Taylor said.
“The policy does provide fairness in all directions,” Taylor said, “If you decide to stick to the policy, it does make it not arbitrary ... It is one that will correct itself no matter which way the trend goes.”The increase will need to be confirmed by council at its next meeting.