Karla Kozakevich, chair of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board, conducted the April 16 meeting using an online platform. The last time the board met at the Penticton office was on March 19. (Contributed)

Democracy costs Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen more than $500,000

Remuneration and expenses paid to chair, directors and alternate directors comes to $542,588

Democracy at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen cost more than $500,000 in 2019.

Information from the regional district’s Statement of Financial Information showed a total of $480,453 in remuneration for the board chair, directors and alternate directors and another $62,135 in expenses.

There were a total of 32 people on the regional district board, including the board chair, 16 directors and 15 alternate directors.

Board chair Karla Kozakevich received $68,181 in remuneration and claimed $9,142 in expenses in 2019.

READ ALSO: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen budget nearly $58 million

READ ALSO: Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen directors to receive pay increase

Among the directors and alternate directors, remuneration and expenses varied widely.

Director Timothy Roberts, who serves as a director for Electoral Area G in rural Keremeos and Hedley, received compensation of $32,608 and claimed $7,311 in expenses while Martin Johansen, an alternate director from Oliver, received $495 in compensation and claimed $48 in expenses.

In December, the regional district approved a compensation increase of 11.9 per cent for 2020.

The increase was approved because of taxation changes. In past years, elected officials could receive a non-accountable allowance for work expenses that were not taxable, but in January, 2019, this one-third tax exemption was eliminated.

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