Cost of Melton democracy goes up

Councillors will cost Melton ratepayers more than $360,000 a year for the next four years after their numbers were increased from seven to nine at last October’s local government elections.

Melton councillors receive the statewide $32,455 maximum as an allowance including superannuation, while the mayor receives $103,631.

All nine councillors voted to accept an officers’ recommendation to award themselves the maximum allowance.

In a report to the March 6 council meeting, officers said the current budget had factored allowances for two more councillors at the maximum rate.

The proposal is now out for public feedback, with the proposed allowances advertised until next week.

After the 28-day advertising period (which started on March 6), officers will schedule a meeting to hear submissions.

A further report including public feedback will then be presented at the June 30 council meeting.

The Local Government Act requires all councils to review and determine councillor and mayoral allowances within six months of an election, or by June 30 the next year, whichever is later.

“The allowances … will remain in place until the next review after the 2020 general elections,” the report stated.

Victorian councillors last received a pay rise of 2.5 per cent in December last year.

The $360,000 total allowances doesn’t include the out-of-pocket expenses that councillors are entitled to be reimbursed for.