Albury Council's tight rein on costs

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THE Albury Council may limit its representation at the annual NSW local government conference to just three councillors.

The city was represented by six of its nine councillors at last year’s conference, costing the council $10,544.

In 2012, the bill was almost $8000 for the five councillors.

But the council is now looking at limiting attendance to three voting delegates — the mayor and deputy mayor of the day, plus one other councillor as it searches for budget savings.

This and other changes are contained in a review of councillor “perks” that was placed on public display this week.

Under the city’s standing policy, all councillors are eligible to attend the annual local government talkfest.

Albury hosted the conference in 2010. Last year it was held in Sydney.

The council last month received a report for six months on conferences councillors attended.

The $5640 bill was within budget.

Changes to the draft policy on councillors’ expenses and provision of facilities included the scrapping of reimbursement for the cost of printer consumables.

It is also recommended all councillors report gifts to executive services.

Gifts of less than $20 previously were exempt.

Councillors will also receive a cab charge card they can use when attending council-approved conferences, seminars and training courses.

Councillors have been reimbursed for those costs up until now.

The payment of travel expenses and meals for council-related business at conferences and seminars remains unchanged.

The policy excludes the payment of partners’ expenses at conferences.

Laundry and dry cleaning, newspapers and parking fees is still covered.

Councillors also receive a tablet computer, smart phone and business cards and letterheads for those who order them.

The car the mayor receives for civic duties can also be used privately and a corporate credit card can be used for council-related business of up to $5000.