Councillors pass buck, leave pay rise to new council

THE next Southern Downs Regional Council will be left to make a decision on whether to accept a 2% pay rise or redirect money to other projects.

Councillors voted in favour of the pay rise determined by the Local Government Remuneration and Discipline Tribunal yesterday.

The rise won't come into effect until July 1, leaving the next council to make the tough decision of whether to take it or redirect it.

Either way, ratepayers will be hit with an extra $13,000 of costs in the budget.

Councillors were given two options at a meeting yesterday - either accept the 2% rise or make a submission against the rise.

Cr Vic Pennisi said the current council didn't have the right to make a decision.

"We don't have the right to determine what someone else will be paid," he said.

Similar views were expressed by Cr Neil Meiklejohn.

"It's up to a new council to make this decision," he said.

Cr Pennisi, Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley, Cr Jamie Mackenzie and Cr Cameron Gow voted against the rise.

Cr Jo McNally made a passionate defence of the council decision, stating she wanted to get the right message out in the media.

"We are not taking a pay rise," she said.

"Our wages are staying the same."

Councillors voted down a 2.3% pay rise in June, choosing to spend the money on the community instead.

A 2% pay rise would see the mayor earn $122,631 a year.

The deputy mayor would earn $76,644, while councillors would each be paid $65,147 a year.

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