Councillors reject allowance pay rise

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Ballymoney councillors have agreed NOT to accept their new allowance pay rise.

During a Full Council meeting, Cllr Alan McLean proposed that ‘due to the reduction in meetings’ he felt it was ‘inappropriate to take the pay rise’. Cllr John Finlay seconded the proposal.

The issue was raised in the Central Services report: ‘The Department of the Environment, in exercise of its powers conferred by the Local Government Finance Act (NI) 2011 has determined new maximum rates for councillors allowances from 1st January 2015 until 31st March 2015. The new maximum rates include an increase of 2.2% applied to both the Basic Allowance and Special Responsibility Allowance.

‘The new maximum rates of Basic Allowance payable by Ballymoney Borough Council are: £837.58 for councillors serving on Ballymoney Borough Council only. £418.79 for councillors serving on both Ballymoney Borough Council and the Shadow Council. Council currently pays the maximum rate of Basic Allowance.

‘It is recommended that Council approve the rate. The new maximum level of Special Responsibility Allowance is £20,819 for a Council with a population of less than 50,000. In 2014/15 Council set a budget of £16,000 for Special Responsibility Allowance which is allocated in full.’

* The allowances figures paid to councillors in 2013/14 were also attached to the report. Cllr John Finlay was paid the highest at £18,371 while Ald Frank Campbell, Cllr Anita Cavlan and Cllr Roma McAfee had the lowest at £9,835 each.

In response Cllr Finlay requested that ‘in the interest of balance and fairness’ the ‘attendance rate of every member should be included with the Allowances report’.