The total cost of remuneration for Councillors is going down, not up.
The 4-yearly review of the Joint Independent Remuneration Panel for Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells Councils, recently recommended a series of increases for Tunbridge Wells Members which would increase the budget from £364,208 to £401,624.
However, following a review by Members themselves, a fairer system has been proposed whereby those that put in the most hours will have an increase, and many Councillors, for instance the Vice-Chairmen, will no longer get any remuneration at all.
The overall budget has been reduced by Members to £363,515, and will be going for ratification by the Council next Wednesday.
The vast majority of Councillors will get an increase less than the panel recommended, but bringing their annual pay to £5,500 compared to the current level of £5279. The Independent panel recommended £6312.
The Leader of the Council will have a payment of £19,250 pa. In calculating the basic allowance, the Independent Panel imposed a discount of 40% of the recommended sum to allow for a public service discount – the element of the work considered to be voluntary.