Taxi – just charge it to the ratepayer

JUST how much ratepayers' money is spent on covering councillor expenses will be released next month.

All Southern Downs Regional councillors are entitled to a mobile phone, $95.80 worth of daily meals and their own hotel room under the new reimbursement policy recently adopted by the council.

"Councillors should not be financially disadvantaged when carrying out the requirements of the role of a councillor and should be fairly and reasonably compensated in accordance with statutory requirements and community expectations," the policy reads.

Corporate Services acting director Tony Brett said the new policy was updated in line with legislative requirements.

"The new policy contains improved definitions of key items mentioned in the policy (i.e. what is council business)," he said.

He said it also provided more guidance on what could be claimed.

Council business is defined as business that benefits the council or community.

While a councillor is on official business they can claim any toll fees and transfer fees such as taxi fares.

If more than one councillor is attending the event they will each get separate rooms.

While away on business councillors can claim $23.65 for breakfast, $26.55 for lunch and $45.60 for dinner.

Councillors also have the option to receive a mobile phone with all costs relating to council business paid for.

Mr Brett said councillors had made claims in the last financial year.

"Claims relate to travel and accommodation costs for council approved conferences, training and other activities and the amount claimed varies from councillor to councillor," he said.

These amounts will be disclosed in a report released next month.



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