URALLA councillors have voted against a major hike in their pay packets.
They were asked to approve an increase to the annual fees paid to the mayor and councillors for 2016-17 at Monday’s ordinary meeting.
A recommendation put to councillors suggested an annual fee of $24,630 for the mayor and $11,290 for councillors. The recommendation was a significant increase from current Mayor Michael Pearce’s 2015-16 stipend of $18,962.
Instead, councillors voted for a modest rise, acting general manager George Cowan said.
“The councillors voted to approve only a 1.8 per cent increase for councillor and mayoral fees which is equivalent to the rate increase approved in the budget,” he said. As a result of the decision, councillors will receive $10,955 for 2016-17.
The mayor will be paid $19,303.
The increases comes after the NSW Local Government Remuneration Tribunal upped the fees payable to councillors and mayors for 2016-17.
Acting general manager George Cowan said the proposed pay rise reflected the strain put on councillors, particularly during the
period of looming amalgamations.
“The roles of local government councillors and mayors are increasingly demanding and extremely important to the betterment of the communities,” Mr Cowan said.
“Council should set their remuneration structure to ensure that they attract appropriately experienced and qualified people and offer some reward for the time and effort requited to satisfactorily perform the duties of the position.
“With Fit For the Future and merger issues to deal with and the challenges associated with managing paid work, family responsibilities and this growing Council workload, the maximum remuneration structure and level afforded to elected members appears to be more than justified.”
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