Councillors vote no to pay rise

RICHMOND Valley councillors have voted not to reward themselves with a three per cent pay rise due to a $500,000 forecast budget deficit.

“The council has to make some hard decisions,” Councillor Robert Mustow said during Tuesday night’s meeting.

“This is the first step down that road.”

At last month’s council meeting, the 2010-2011 budget deficit was revealed at $500,000. Cr Donella Kinnish said it was important that councillors set an example.

She used the debate to raise her concerns about a $2500 jump in the staff Christmas party budget proposed in the council’s draft management plan.

The increase would take the total cost to $5500.

Mayor Col Sullivan spoke in favour of the 3pc pay increase, saying the recommendation had come from the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal.

“These people are independent of any council,” he said.

“They are worth listening to; they are specialists in the field.”

Cr Sullivan said mayors ‘across the border’ received remunerations of between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.

“NSW is so far behind,” he said.

Cr Sullivan has previously argued that increasing councillors’ remuneration would attract better candidates.

Cr Charlie Cox was also in favour of the increase and said councillors should place more value on their hard work.

As part of the vote to forgo the increase, councillors will miss out on an extra $23 monthly and the mayor will not receive the extra $74 a month.

Meanwhile, council voted to enter negotiations with a tend- erer to run the Evans Head Aquatic Centre, despite discrepancies between the budget allocation and the figures quoted.

Council had struggled to find a tenderer who could run the aquatic centre at the right price, Cr Cox said.



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