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Published: 2010-11-26 00:00:00

Environment Waikato councillors have voted to retain the way their pay and allowances are structured despite facing a heavier workload over the next three year term.

The council this week voted to keep the remuneration structure agreed by the last council even though councillors face about 755 meeting attendances in 2010-11, 130 more than last year. The extra work is largely as a result of co-management arrangements with iwi.

This could mean councillors will not be paid for meetings toward the end of the financial year if the attendance fee pool runs out.

Councillor salary and allowances are set independently by the Remuneration Authority, which takes into account factors such as the regional population and its growth, operational expenditure and net assets of the council.

Based on these criteria, the authority has indicated Environment Waikato has the same amount for salaries as last year. This provides $652,020 for councillors, after allowing for the chairman’s salary of $142,100.

In addition, staff have sought approval from the authority to carry forward $9000 unspent funds from last year’s remuneration pool. These additional funds will be added to the available remuneration pool for the current financial year. Since taking office in October, councillors have been paid a baseline salary only, based on 80 per cent of a councillor’s salary.

Assuming the remuneration authority approves the council’s proposal, councillor salaries will be $44,935 (with an estimated meeting attendance of 43); committee chairs’ salaries will be $56,169 (with an estimated meeting attendance of 47).and the deputy chair of council’s salary will be $67,403 (with an estimated meeting attendance of 67).

All councillors will continue to receive an unchanged flat rate daily meeting fee of $125 on top of salaries. This is expected to see a total of $65,625 in meeting fees for 2010-11.