Allowances for Adur district councillors should be raised again this year to ensure they receive the same as their Worthing colleagues by 2020.
That was the recommendation by an independent panel of residents, tasked with setting the annual remuneration of the council’s 29 members.
The joint governance committee was presented with two options on Tuesday – equating to a rise of either three per cent or six per cent.
“The panel believes that as a result of joint working, the basic allowances of Adur and Worthing councillors should be more closely aligned in the short-term and have parity in the long term,” a report to the committee read.
A four per cent increase in councillors’ basic allowance was approved by full council last year.
The panel’s recommendations also changed the way allowances for special responsibilities, such as leader or chairing committees, were calculated.
The changes began the process of achieving parity with Worthing – but it was decided to gradually increase allowances to spread the cost.
Allowances are subject to an annual review.
The panel’s latest recommendations include a one per cent rise in line with that agreed for council staff, in addition to ‘catch-up’ increases of two or five per cent.
The greatest increase would see the basic allowance jump from £4,089 to £4,336. The committee supported the higher rise – the panel’s prefererd choice – which will go to full council for a decision. Speaking after the meeting, committee chairman George Barton questioned the point of having an independent panel if their views were ignored.
Labour councillor for Cokeham ward Barry Mear was against a rise. Speaking ahead of the meeting, he said: “It is not our money. It belongs to the people who are paying their rates.”
Mr Mear last year vowed to give last year’s rise to charity.
Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin said he was minded to support the higher rate, to achieve parity quicker.
He said: “The recommendations are made by a totally independent panel and these panels, of course, were introduced by the last Labour government.”