At first glimpse it would seem Mayor Bob Kilger’s expense account has ballooned in just one year’s time.
Kilger spent a little more than $9,500 from January to May this year, well beyond the $6,000 he dished out for the same period of time in 2011.
But Kilger said the reason behind the increase is explained by his stomach cancer diagnosis last year.
“It comes down to the timing of the diagnosis,” he said in an interview, adding he had to curtail the amount of functions he attended last year and other related functions while battling the disease.
This year, thanks to health improvements, he has been able to attend more such events.
Kilger, with an expense account of $12,000 – less than last year’s $14,000, said he plans to adhere to his budget limit.
“I’m going to do my best to not go over that limit” he said. “I’ll be close.”
Kilger pointed out a recent appointment to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation’s (MPAC) board of directors will not add up to more expenses for taxpayers. Activities he participates in on behalf of MPAC are covered by that agency.
The break down of Kilger’s expenses includes $7,462 for travel, and some $1,374 for public relations – up from just $67 in 2011.
Each city councillor has a public relations envelope in their budgets, and there is another $10,000 fund for council as a whole for the same purpose. So far, more than $2,000 has been spent on community fundraisers and events.
Coun. Glen Grant is tops, expensing a total of $560.34 to municipal taxpayers through May. Next is Coun. David Murphy, who spent $489.15.
Councillors Denis Thibault and Elaine MacDonald were on the other end of the scale, spending just $75.
Coun. Gerald Samson, who was sworn in on April 24, has spent $142 so far.
The overall costs for council, including meetings and Blackberry charges, have added up to $34,586.72 as of May 31.
They were hit with an unexpected bill from a recent closed meeting investigation, which totalled $2,438.46. They also spent $27,774 on memberships and association fees.
The price tag for conferences was nearly $11,000, less than half of their yearly budget of $25,000.