A STORM OF protest was seen in the Town hall chamber as councillors vowed they do not want to take financial allowances for their work.
The Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales has said that Town and Community Councillors are entitled to a one-off annual payment of £150 a year to cover costs such as telephone bills.
Three councillors who have extra responsibilities could claim up to £500 each.
While Welshpool Town Council can cover these costs, a further allowance of up to £403 a month, to care for dependent children or adults such as elderly parents, caused uproar.
Town Clerk Robert Robinson believes that the Town Council may need to put aside £77,000 in case the allowance is claimed in full for a whole year by all 16 councillors.
This could see the Council Tax precept set by Welshpool Town Council increase by £28.
Mr Robinson, said: “The £150 a year is not a big deal, that’s not the issue that concerns me.
“It’s the carers’ allowance of £403 that they (the Remuneration Panel) say we must provide.”
Mr Robinson had been in touch with the panel for further clarification.
He was advised that he should find out, which councillors qualify for the allowance and then put aside money in case they make a claim.
Mr Robinson said: “We don’t have to put it in the budget but we would be taking a calculated risk.
“We could find £77,000, but it would eat in to the resources, I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do on this one.”
Deputy mayor Cllr Hazel Evans said: “I became a councillor because I wanted to help the town and people.
“I did it freely and intend to forego my payment and will write a letter saying that.”
Cllr Heather Sherlock added “Everyone here takes such a pride in our town, we don’t need or do it for pay.”
Cllr Phil Pritchard proposed that the council should not accept the panel’s recommendations, saying he thought they were: “An absolute disgrace”.
Cllr Estelle Bleivas, said: “This ought to be made public, people are going to learn about this from a couple of lines in the County Times and get the wrong end of the stick.
“We need to tell them the Remuneration Panel) that we are not signing it.”
Councillors resolved that further discussion and clarification from the Remuneration Panel is needed.
The Remuneration Panel’s website clearly states that the payments are only mandatory if a council: “Formally decides to apply the determinations.”
See full story in the County Times