Local councillors will no longer be able to claim thousands of euro in expenses travelling to conferences around the country as in recent years, following changes to what elected members can be paid.
Salaries and expenses for the members of Kilkenny County Council totalled €717,420 last year, with over €80,000 spent on ‘training and education’ allowances. New changes to allowances have now been made by Minister for the Environment and Local Government Phil Hogan.
In Kilkenny, Conferences/Education and Training allowance has been reduced from a potential €4,700 each per year to a maximum council budget of €16,800. No member will be able to obtain more than €1,000 in any one year.
However, there has been no change made to the mileage/subsistence/phone/postage overall allowance, which ranges from €4,400 per annum to over €6,000 depending on the distance that the councillor lives from County Hall. There is also no change to the councillors’ annual ‘representational payment’ of €16,565 per year (gross), which is subject to taxation, and no change to SPC chair’s allowance of €6,000 per year (again subject to taxation).
The Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny Council is now entitled to an additional allowance of €20,000 gross (taxable) – a reduction from €32,990 in previous years. The leas cathaoirleach’s annual allowance has also been reduced from €8,345 gross to €4,000 (taxable).
There has been no change made to payments for the chairs of the new municipal districts. The chair of the Castlecomer Area is to receive €6,000 – as is the chair of the Piltown area, while the chair of the Municipal District of Kilkenny City (the mayor) is to receive €12,000 per year. These payments are subject to taxation.