TAXING TIMES FOR COUNCILLORS
THE plea for higher councillor allowances is interesting but not the whole story ( Sunday
Tasmanian, November 26). Councillors fall into the category of already having a fulltime job, or are retirees. My understanding is that because they are not employed by the council, the allowances are taxfree. They are tax-free because the councillors do not get holiday pay, or overtime, or sick pay.
The allowance is to reimburse costs incurred in the pursuit of council business. As such, costs may relate to travel within the municipality; communication costs; and meetings with residents.
If the councillor pays for this activity and submits receipts for reimbursement, they are covered.
I believe that conferences held by the Local Government Association are another cost, and have been told may be as much as $600. I believe this is a cost reimbursable on taxation, but not by the council.
Councillors do not get remuneration for personal items, such as accommodation and meals. Councillors are not fulltime employees, so a “pay rise’’ appears a misnomer.
The suggestion that financial increases would be more palatable if council amalgamations were pursued appears fair. There would also be less room for nepotism in larger council areas.
If the reimbursement policy is followed in all councils, there would be less claims of credit card abuse. P.A. Kyne Geeveston