News money-20

The Leader of Wrexham Council has issued a response to a suggestion to axe Wrexham’s mayoral position rather than lollipop ladies and play areas, criticising the Councillor who has proposed it.

Councillor Neil Rogers, Leader of Wrexham Council, said today: “There have been many statements made concerning whether Wrexham does or does not have a Mayor over recent weeks. I have repeatedly asked Councillor Gregory to submit a motion to Council to debate this issue. There is a Council meeting on the 25 September and I note today that no submission of a motion has been received.”

Cllr Rogers went on to specifically mention the attendance record of the Cllr Gregory in terms of six all member work shops looking at the budgets and impacts of changes for Wrexham, “When I checked the attendance at these budget workshops I note that Councillor Gregory had failed to attend any of them. I now suggest to him he puts a motion to Council and not conduct the debate through the media. Unless a motion is submitted the debate is not going to take place.

“There has also been a number of misconceptions mentioned by members of the public such as the Mayoress having an allowance towards her clothing which is not true and all councillors receiving tickets for the Mayor’s Ball. I, like many other councillors, have attended many of these events and we can produce receipts which show we have paid for our tickets and refreshments.

“What is of concern is the impact this is having on the staff working in the Mayor’s Office and I urge Councillor Gregory to bring this matter to Chamber for proper debate.”

Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper, of Queensway ward said in the initial release that sparked todays response “The annual budget for the role of Mayor, the car, chauffeur and clothing allowance, along with the additional councillors’ allowances cost the people of Wrexham at least quarter of a million pounds. Instead of cutting lollipop ladies and closing play areas, these should be cut instead. If this were to happen, it would help cover the costs of the services the council are currently trying to offload onto the community.”

Here at Wrexham.com we get a fair number of press releases, and did not run the initial submission however we did run a few other stories that day. We had made enquiries to firm up the £150,000 cost of the Mayors office with no joy, and we understand there are Freedom of Information requests also placed to try and discover the costs involved.

The press release was highlighting this petition, which currently has 35 signatories, stating “We want to protect our local community services and call on the council to first look at savings such as leading councillors’ allowances (increased £100,000 a year) and the mayor’s office (c£150,000 a year).

The current member payment schedules are as follows for Councillors, as all get a basic salary but others get more responsibilities and thus an extra allowance.

  1. Annual Basic Salary: £13,175
  2. Annual Senior Salaries (Inclusive of Basic Salary above)
    1. Council Leader: £47,500
    2. Deputy Leader: £33,460
    3. Executive Board Members with Lead Responsibility: £28,780
    4. Committee Chairpersons: £21,910
  3. Civic Salaries
    1. Mayor: £21,375
    2. Deputy Mayor: £16,625
  4. Co-opted Member Fees
    1. Chairperson: £256 daily (£128 half day)
    2. Ordinary Member: £198 daily (£99 half day)

The above rules are fed down from the The Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales, you can read the relevant legislation here.

Interestingly as we have reported before the total cost of Councillors, including wage expenses and the like, totals a whopping £888,878 a year currently, not including iPads and the like.

We have written before about how being a Councillor used to be unpaid, and that the Councillors have free access to a car park which itself could be used as revenue generation method. We are aware that a couple of Councillors do infact put money into ticket machines to cover the costs – hopefully more will!

We will report further on how this develops and if any Councillor will be the first to effectively give up their salary or perks!

 

(Picture: £200 in twenty pound notes as that is how Wrexham.com rolls. For the record it would require nearly two and a half thousand people holding the same amount of money in both hands to cover the cost of the Councillors for this year. No coins though, as the parking is free!)