THE mayor potentially using an overseas trip as an opportunity to strengthen Bathurst's sister city relationship with Cirencester has been called into question.
A report by the general manager, David Sherley, was presented to Bathurst Regional Council's latest meeting, detailing the next steps in a Friendship Agreement between the two cities.
A delegation of representatives of Bathurst is set to travel to Cirencester in May of 2020, at which point the formalities of the Friendship Agreement can be finalised.
It would cost approximately $4000 per council delegate, of which there would be two.
The report also noted that the mayor, Bobby Bourke, may be over in Ireland in early 2020 and proposes that while he is there he visits Cirencester.
Council would put less than $1000 towards this trip to cover the cost of flights from Ireland to Cirencester, his accommodation while in the sister city and "sustenance".
Any other costs of his trip would be at his own expense.
Although councillors eventually voted to authorise the trip to Cirencester, it didn't come without heavy criticism.
Councillor Jess Jennings first demanded to know what Bathurst would be getting out of the extra visit to Cirencester.
Mr Sherley noted that representatives of Cirencester have expressed their interest in having the mayor visit.
"And it would be part of the development of the relationship that we are building up with Cirencester, that has been reflected recently by the opening of the shop in the visitor centre, where produce from Cirencester is being sold," he said.
Although he said he wouldn't oppose money being set aside, Cr Jennings felt it "wasn't entirely justified" for council to contribute to the trip.
"Other people, including myself, have self-funded [trips] - to China for two weeks, two days in Cirencester at my own cost," he said.
"I don't think it's impossible to ask for that kind of commitment to be made, particularly when the ratepayers are already sticking out $8000 for something that hasn't happened yet."
Following Cr Jennings comments, councillor Monica Morse asked whether other councillors could claim costs from council if they visited Cirencester while they were overseas, or if it only applied to the mayor.
Mr Sherley clarified that all councillors were entitled to make the request, and such requests would be dealt with in public through a report.
While some councillors appeared critical, deputy mayor Ian North defended the recommendation, saying it was "a good thing" to use this trip as a way to grow the city's relationship with Cirencester.