Merritt city councillor Dave Baker credits fiscal prudence for spending among the least of all members of council.
The City of Merritt’s recently released schedule of council remuneration and expenses from its audited 2011 Statement of Financial Information shows Coun. Dave Baker as the smallest spender at $2,286 in expenses, next to then councillor Nadia Clarke, who reported no expenses.
“[It] kind of surprised me a little bit because I do go out into the community quite a bit,” Baker said.
He says he doesn’t worry about “little things” when it comes time to claiming expenses.
“What I spent, I feel was fair.”
The next lowest spender was Coun. Mike Goetz, who spent $2,741.
Meanwhile, Mayor Susan Roline was the expected highest spender at $5,559, followed closely by then councillor Shelley Sanders at $4,934. City mayors typically attend more events than anyone else on council.
“Our main expenses are going to UBCM and going to SILGA,” explains Roline, referring to the Union of B.C. Municipalities and Southern Interior Local Government Association annual conventions. The cost of attending those events varies each year because they are held in different cities.
“Our expenses are probably overall all down.”
Coun. Harry Kroeker, the third highest spender at $3,511, says his participation at events like SILGA, UBCM, and also while director on the board of the Yellowhead Highway Association contributed to the bulk of his expenses.
Asked if council’s expenses in 2011 were average, he said some were high.
“What I experienced over the years was $3,000 would be high.”
Councillors Norm Brigden and Clara Norgaard reported no expenses following their elections in November 2011 to the end of that year.
The taxpayers’ bill for mayor and city council in 2011 totaled $116,068—$22,298 of that expenses. Total employee remuneration for City of Merritt employees was just over $3 million.
The 2011 Statement of Financial Information was audited by KPMG LLP and released May 14, 2012.