Mayor and councillors vote for a pay rise
THE rate of pay for Tweed Shire councillors has been a bone of contention at the last two council meetings, with the mayor and deputy mayor opposing each other on the issue.
Deputy mayor Michael Armstrong believes the council should set an example in tough economic times by tightening its belt, while mayor Barry Longland is determined to take the 2.5% rise for a remuneration that has been described as "peanuts."
Tweed Shire council falls into the same remuneration category as Lismore, Kyogle, Byron and Ballina, with Lismore voting for the rise at their last meeting.
It's an insult to what councillors do. It sends a bad message to the community if we don't accept the pay rise.
The 2.5% rise, which councillors voted to accept 6-1, would bring the mayors' fees to $38,160 and councillors' to $17, 490 per year.
Cr Carolyn Byrne said a councillor's annual fee was "a pathetic peanut."
"It's an insult due to what councillors do," she said.
Mayor Barry Longland said the fee was "somewhat small compared to other councils."
"It sends a bad message to the community if we don't accept a raise," he said.
"Ratepayers would think we were a bit loopy."
He suggested councillors who did not want the raise could put theirs into miscellaneous contributions, putting it back into the community.
Cr Phil Youngblutt said Tweed was one of the largest councils on the North Coast and that its' fees for councillors was "quite ridiculous."
Cr Armstrong stuck to his guns on the issue, saying the remuneration should "reflect reality."
Do you support Tweed councillors getting a pay rise?
This poll ended on 28 June 2013.
Yes, put up their pay.
No, they should forgo a pay rise.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
He said it was incongruous to expect the council to avoid a budget increase, while giving councillors a raise.
"We need to be responsible with funds provided by ratepayers," he said.
Cr Katie Milne said she commended Cr Armstrong's selfless initiative.
"It's symbolic." She said.
"Small things are often overlooked, but they add up and we should be showing the way.
"It's a minor amount, but it sends a major message."
Cr Byrne said NSW was "behind on many issues."
She said compared to councils over the border (Qld) Tweed's remuneration was an insult.
"We are entitled to a good and proper remuneration," she said.