PAYMENTS for Langstone community councillors with additional responsibilities have been approved, amid a heated debate.
Langstone Community Council agreed to approve payments of £500 to its chairman, as well as the chairman of the finance and planning committees.
Community councillors are entitled to receive a payment of £150 per year towards the costs and expenses of serving the community, and those with additional responsibilities – such as a mayor – may receive a payment of up to £1,500.
Payments for other senior roles may also receive up to £500.
But the issue caused a stir at a Langstone Community Council meeting last month, with some members arguing that due to changes brought by the pandemic the payments should not be made.
Cllr Jacqui Ford, deputy chairman, said she did not want to receive the additional payment which is available for the role.
“As vice-chairman, I feel I do no more than any other councillor,” she said.
“My only additional role would be to chair the meeting if the chairman was not available.”
Cllr Ford said that no separate finance or planning committee meetings have taken place in the last 12 months, as the community council voted to have them included with full meetings.
“How can we pay an additional payment for a task that has not taken place?” she said.
Cllr Rosi Hollister said the council could not “possibly justify” the payments, saying they were “for basically sitting on our backsides and doing Zoom meetings like this”.
“We come on to the council to make a difference, to try to do something positive,” she said.
“We should be doing that because it’s the right thing to do, not because we may get paid for it.”
However, Cllr Lance Humphries said that councillors had still carried out additional tasks at home, rather than at physical meetings, due to the pandemic.
“If you have your own personal preferences don’t take the money, but we are voting for the positions,” he added.
Cllr Mark Griffiths said he would not want the £150 payment, but that he would not want to stop future members from receiving it.
Payments of £500 for the chairman of the council, chairman of the finance committee and chairman of the planning committee were approved.
The council agreed not to make a payment for the deputy chairman, as Cllr Ford said she did not want to receive it.