Lismore City Council's councillors have given themselves a pay rise.
Lismore City Council's councillors have given themselves a pay rise.

Why didn't councillors give themselves a pay rise?

LISMORE City councillors have opted not to give themselves a pay rise in order to keep within their budget.

Following Tuesday's council meeting, each councillor will earn $20,245 for 2020/21, totalling $222,700.

Meanwhile, mayor Isaac Smith will earn $45,400 for the next financial year.

The decision came after a lengthy discussion over what was an acceptable fee, especially during a time when the community is facing financial hardship related to the pandemic and bushfire disasters.

Lismore City Council has recently been categorised in the new category of Regional Centre, which has a higher maximum fee structure than the previous category.

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The maximum councillor fee for Regional Centre Councils is $24,320 each and $60,080 for the mayor's fee.

Councillor Adam Guise said councillors should consider opting for the maximum fee because councillors "have been pushed to the limits" with what is required of them.

Cr Guise said compared to the money spent on consultants, legal fees and unexpected cost variations, the maximum councillor fee was not unreasonable.

"I would just point out this is a $60,000 variation, it's small pins in the schemes of things," he said.

"(Our current fee is) nowhere in the realm of the time and work councillors put in to do what's required to do the job properly.

"Councillors juggle these roles on top of other work-life commitments.

"We need to be compensated appropriately … for the amount of information we have to get across.

"If we're expected to read hundreds of pages of documents then we should be awarded for that.

"I'm not about asking a pay rise for a pay rise sake."

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But Cr Guise's amendment to opt for the maximum fee was lost, with Cr Gianpierro Battista stating it would be inappropriate to be asking the community right now to pay councillors more than previously budgeted for.

"I understand we all do a lot of work and read a lot of papers and we get a lot of hours but I think this is a civic duty when we put our hand up to run for council we don't do it for the pay," he said.

Cr Neil Marks said councillors had to live within its means set out in the budget.

"We made the budget decision for the amounts that are indicated in the report for both the mayor and the councillors and I think we should live with those," he said.

"I agree that the amount of money we're given to do our job …. is minuscule.

"I don't think this is the time or the place …. to be going 'let's get the best we can for ourselves'."

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