Council expenses rise 3.5 percent between 2021 and 2022

By Kirk Winter

Leanne Mitchell, supervisor of cost accounting, presented what council had spent on renumeration and expenses at the last council meeting, comparing overall costs to fund council in 2021 to those costs in 2022.

In her report, Mitchell detailed a $20,000 increase in council costs one year over the next with councillors billing the city more for mileage due to a return to in-person meetings, conference and seminar attendance that had largely all been cancelled by COVID-19 in 2021, and other eligible expenses generated by spending more time at city hall than at their home offices.

In her notes attached to the report, Mitchell said that the conference and seminar column included not only reimbursement for in-person attendance of conferences “but meals, accommodations, taxi fares etc. for all conferences and training attended by members. This (line item) also includes expenses for town hall meetings.”

The report was a little more complex this year because of the election of a new council. The report had to reflect costs incurred by the first ten and a half months of the old council led by Andy Letham, and the first six weeks of the new council presided over by Doug Elmslie.

In 2021, the last full year of the Letham mandate, council costs included $510,000 for wages, $6700 for mileage, only $610 for conferences and $870 in other eligible expenses for a total of $517,000.

The combined numbers for 2022 featured $512,000 for wages, $9400 for mileage, $14,000 for conferences and seminars and $1600 for other eligible expenses producing a total bill of $537,000.

Former councillors Pat O’Reilly and Kathleen Seymour-Fagan had the highest expense sub-totals in 2022, out billing all other members including the mayor. Former Councillor Andrew Veale submitted no bills for expenses in 2022.

The two best compensated members of council in 2022 were Letham, who took home in wages and reimbursed expenses $106,000, while Elmslie, who acted as deputy-mayor, received $49,000.


  1. Wow! Look at the increase in spending from a Letham administration to an Elmslie one. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised though, eh?

  2. Annoyed CKL Taxpayer says:

    The Kitchen Restructuring Report from 2000 documents a total of 443 Full-Time-Equivalent (FTE) Municipal Employees employed by Victoria County, Town of Lindsay and 17 other townships and villages. 303 of the 443 were Employees of Victoria County and Town of Lindsay, the 17 other municipalities had just 140 employees combined.

    Fast forward to 2023, and the City of Kawartha Lakes Budget includes 626 Total City Employees (FTEs)
    That’s 183 FTE Growth in number of Employees in 23 years. An increase of 41%.
    Paramedic/Ambulance Service was downloaded post amalgamation, but even if we back out the 65 FTE Paramedic Employees, that still leaves CKL with 118 more Full Time Employees or 27% more City Employees in 2023 than in pre-amalgamation Victoria County year 2000.

    Salaries and Benefits are $94 Million from a Total Revenue of $237 Million.
    40% of the CKL budget is spoken for every year, before you buy a truck load of gravel, fill up that road grader with diesel fuel, or buy a new fire hose.

    If the CKL wants to get a handle on its costs, the single best thing the Council can do is stop growing the headcount.
    Manage the scope and scale of what the City is required to deliver, and stop committing to “nice to have” fluff programs that are not actually essential.

    1. Focus on delivery of infrastructure services – Roads, Water, Sewer, Garbage, Fire Police.
    2. Spend CKL budget with area rating by ward, with Spending in proportion to the Tax Revenue collected from that Ward. CKL should not be a wealth redistribution system where the haves fund roads and sewers for the have nots.

    2023 Budget Full Time Employee Counts
    9 Full Time Councillors, Deputy Mayor and Mayor
    41 Full-Time Equivalent Employees in Office of the CAO
    67 Full-Time Equivalent Employees in Community Services
    78 Full-Time Equivalent Employees in Corporate Services
    50 Full-Time Equivalent Employees in Development Services
    29 Full-Time Equivalent Employees in Engineering & Corporate Assets
    33 Full-Time Equivalent Employees in Fire Services
    65 Full-Time Equivalent Employees in Paramedic Services
    82 Full-Time Equivalent Employees in Human Services
    153 Full-Time Equivalent Employees in Public Works
    19 Full-Time Equivalent Employees in Water & Wastewater
    626 TOTAL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.